Elder Keller & Elder Phillips in Sao Paulo

Elder Keller & Elder Phillips in Sao Paulo

Monday, January 26, 2015

#22 Jan 26, 2015

Well this week was super awesome because we got to go into Chapecó this week to have interviews with President Silva! The guy is absolutely amazing and im so glad I got him as my president.

But anyway before our interviews with him we always study a talk or a chapter in the book of mormon or d&c or something and then have a big zone study with him. And the guy brings 3 quads that he has used and studied with throughout his life and he knows the scriptures like the back of his hand. But anyway we got done a little bit early this time with a talk by Nelson about the atonement which was super cool and then he told us that in the next few ones we wouldnt be studying something but instead he would be teaching us how to be leaders in the church. Cool right?? he explained to us that as a mission president your call says that you have three main responsibilities, one to care for your family and make sure everything is okay with them, two to prepare your missionaries to be great parents in their families and how to be leaders in the church after their missions and 3 to increase the attendance in the wards and branches in your mission. He said it is interesting because he said nowhere does it say, "baptize". Haha he said sometimes we get so worried about not having baptisms that we forget about the bigger picture but he also explained that really we are here to prepare ourselves to be the next generation of members and leaders in the church.

I've always thought just like im sure a lot of people have, why would the Lord send an 18 year old kid to a country where he doesnt speak the language to preach a gospel that he knows little about? But when President told us what his responsibilties were it puts things into perspective a little better. We are here to prepare ourselves to serve in the church for the rest of our lives. And the thing that stinks is that we only have two years to do it!

I had a dream the other day that i had woken up one day and i was going home. The two years had passed and it was time to go home and i only remembered the first 5 months of my mission but i had served for two but the time had just passed that fast. I started totally freaking out and then i woke up for real and realized ive still got time haha but it was weird cuz it totally scared me to death! I thought I had just wasted three fourths of my mission.

Dad has always told me these are the only two years we will ever have to serve the Lord with everything we got. The rest of our lives we have school, work, family to take care of and a ton of other things going on! Out here 24/7 the only thing we worry about is serving the Lord! Thats why Elder Holland said to us that this will be the closest we get to REAL LIFE. And we have to take advantage of every second of it!

But anyways things are going totally awesome here! Our two baptisms fell but its okay because we are teaching the coolest couple ever! Quickly Jessica and Andre didnt go to church so they arent getting baptized which stinks but ive got a lot of hope for this couple Fabiana and Allison. They are so cool and completely prepared to receive the gospel. As soon as they get married I know they are gonna get baptized and the gospel is going to bless them the rest of their lives and make them so much happier! He is 19 and she is 18 (yeah super young but thats how they do things here and theyve been living together for a year) and they are so cool! And guess how we found them? Through a totally awesome member!

But anyways transfers are next week so we will see what happens! I love and miss you all and I will keep you updated! Até a proxima semana!

Elder Keller

Monday, January 19, 2015

#21 Jan 19, 2015 5 month out now!

Well first I want to apologize because my letters have really kind of stunk lately! I always think I have enough time at the end of emailing and then all of a sudden it totally disappears!

But anyways this week was way awesome! The elders from Beltrão got their first baptism there this week so they came to Pato Branco for the baptism because we have a church! You could tell that the lady that got baptized could totally see the immediate change that had taken place in her life. Its so cool being able to see people have that experience out here! 

So things the Pato Branco are actually going great! We have a ton of people that are really interested in the gospel and almost every single one of them has a member that is a friend and everything is going great!

Right now we have 2 baptisms marked for the 31 of january and I'm praying that everything goes well with them. We have Jessica who is 18 and we found her in a restaurant because Elder Hess and i had to go to the bathroom and elder hess started talking to her about the church and so she said we could come by one day and visit. So Elder Rhoton and I went by and she was totally interested and had a ton of questions about  the church and she believes its true and wants to be baptized! She has a hardcore baptist friend who went to church with missionaries once and then ripped up a book of mormon though so thats her biggest obstacle right now but i trust that if we are working our hardest to help her feel the spirit then the Lord will take care of the rest. 

We also have André who is 19 and has been coming to church since he was about 11 years old because he is friends with the youth here and was dating one for a really long time. The other week his girlfriend got up in testimony and said she has been praying and knew that she needed to serve a mission! it was awesome! The day before she went to the boyfriend and said I'm going on a mission and you can choose to get baptized or not but I'm staying in the church. The next week he came to church alone haha but Elder Hess and I had tried to meet with him and he never wanted to until now so now we just have to make sure he gets baptized for the right reasons! 

We also have an awesome young couple in our ward who invited another young couple to hear the lessons and the wife it turns out was going to church until she was 10 years old with her mom but they never got baptized and she wants to get baptized now! It was totally awesome seeing how prepared she was and that she has two awesome members who she talks with about the church all the time. Their names are fabiani and allison. (guys name here) They arent married so they have to get married first which takes a month to two here but theyre on the right track for sure! We also have another couple Daniel and Camilla who arent married and Daniel is a member but Camilla isnt but totally wants to be baptized! So they're doing all their marriage papers as well and I'm super excited for them! 

They live in another city 40 minutes away so we drive out there with a member once a week out into the awesome farmland here and I can honestly say I'm starting to really fall in love with Brasil! It is absolutely gorgeous out in the middle of what they call the "interior". There was a lighting storm that night while we were out and the sun was just going down and the road is above these beautiful rolling hills and the view was absolutely ridiculous! I cant even describe it but Brasil is gorgeous!!! 

But anyway it rains every day here and I'm still not sick of it so i guess we'll see what happens after two years haha but I love my mission and I love this gospel! It is true and missions are the best! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

#20 Jan 12, 2015 Batismo!!

 Candida got baptized this week!!!!! (: It was so awesome! I feel super lame because my faith was totally week. We had marked again with here for january tenth for her to be baptized but she had to stop smoking. I didnt really think it was gonna happen to be honest and thats why i didnt say anything last week but we went by on tuesday of this week and she said that she finally stopped and is praying and reading the book of mormon more with her mom and she feels great! I was so surprised! So we marked for the interview, she passed the interview and then ended up being baptized on sunday because our ward had a trip to the temple on saturday. So we are going to confirm her a member of the church next week. I got the awesome opportunity to baptize her and our heater for the water was broken so it was freezing! I was super worried because she has big panick attacks sometimes but got in the water and everything went great! After she got baptized she was just crying and looked so happy and you could one hundred percent see how clean she felt. It was such a cool experience because you could totally see the atonement of Jesus Christ taking place right then and there! She has had a lot of stuff go on in her life and this was a pretty long road to baptism, (met the first set of missionaries in 1996 we found out) but she finally made it! It was awesome!

Also this week we got to take our 5 hour bus ride to got to chapecó for our zone meeting and as usual it was awesome!! I love my zone! We figured out we have 4 brazilians in our entire zone of 22 haha we have a ton of americans and there are only 40 in the mission. so our zone is stacked for some reason.

But i got to do splits with our zone leader and we went to teach two haitians in spanish because they dont speak portugues. my zl is from chile so he speaks it but it was crazy! what was weird was that i was understanding everything but just couldnt speak a word haha. And then people were speaking french and creole as well and then i had no idea what was going on...

Well i wanted to write a ton more but time always seems to fly here and my computer is going down. I love and miss everyone and hope all is well!

Elder Keller

This is Candida and Margarida. Margarida is her mom and totally loves the missionaries and every time we visit tries to give us a ton of food and candy and chocolate haha im gonna get fat out here!


Monday, January 5, 2015

#19 Jan 5, 2015 Happy New Year!

This week was probably another one of the best weeks of the mission because on new years day we werent allowed to leave again so we got in our nap for the next year until christmas. It was amazing! I think i slept in till like 9 o clock that day and it was the best thing ever. Haha life changes as a missionary!

So we werent allowed to go outside the night of new years eve or on new years day so our week got kind of taken out but we found an interesting family and also had a few fun/scary/probably not so good experiences... On tuesday we were walking past a bar and this couple stopped us randomly and started talking to us so we told them about the church and they invited us to come to their house! That never happens so of course we went later that night even though we found them in a bar haha but we got there and the guys parents were there who is a pastor in one of the 1000 churches here in pato branco. We talked to them about the Book of Mormon and the family was super into it! The pastor ended up leaving cuz he had to go but this family has 2 kids and one of the kids is 16 and totally loved it as well his mom. They invited us to a churrasca (brazilian barbeque) with them on friday so we went back and found they had invited all of their friends and were telling them all about the book of mormon! it was sweet! So of course we think everything is going awesome because we have a bunch of people at this house talking about the book of mormon and then the dad pulls out a huge thing of wine and everyone except the mom and kid start going to town. So it quickly turned into a bunch of drunk people talking about the book of mormon which i guess is better then just drunk people haha but anyways we focused on the mom and kid and taught them a little bit more about the restoration after dinner and by this time it was like 915 and were 30 to 45 minutes on foot away from our apartment.

Thing is earlier that day the now drunk dad said that he would give us a ride home at the end of the night but we werent in the best situation for a ride at that moment. But the wife said she would just take us home with her son and it would all work out. We get in the car and are about to leave when the drunk guy gets in and says hes taking us home! so elder rhoton and i tried to get out but he said no and just takes off... So we ended up driving home with this guy who is blasting through red light and i have no idea how he didnt hit anyone, heavenly father was definitely protecting us! Elder Rhoton and i were just looking at each other the whole time and we thought we were seriously gonna die haha but we arrived home safely and marked for a time to go back so in the end it worked out more or less! haha

But my time is running out so ill be kicked off soon but i love and miss everyone! the church is true and i know that through prayer we can communicate with our heavenly father. Sometimes it just takes a little practice though (: I hope everyone is doing awesome and ill talk to you guys next week!

Sweet storm this week knocked out the power! Using candles to study and cold showers! The best!