Thursday, November 24, 2011

Week Three


So it’s been another week... it’s starting to pick up pace and I wonder where the day has gone when it’s at night and I’m saying my prayers. I feel like looking back the days all just kinda are starting to cram together and they are going faster and faster.

I hope you guys have a Happy thanksgiving and eat lots of food... don’t eat beans and rice; I’ve started to cut my intake of beans and rice. They fill you up but after so many days you wanna take a break so then it’s like a present went you eat them hahaha. This week was pretty Awesome. A lot of learning both Portuguese and Gospel. Zamboni always gets us started in the morning with some awesome scripture and gospel point. He is so amazing whenever I feel like I am faltering on a aspect of anything, he is just like well let’s see what Preach my gospel says... or lets see what the scriptures say... and then he flips to a quote of verse that is like so right on point and exactly what I needed, its amazing! I have truly learned that the scriptures and modern prophets can answer any question we might have and can resolve any concerns we might be feeling. It’s amazing. I would love to be the type of person who knows the scriptures so well that I could just flip to a specific verse and have it help someone!

I want to thank you guys so much for the letters I got them on Friday... only took FIVE DAYS!! That’s crazy. Haha and I love all the stories you guys include its nice to read them and see how each of you are doing. I did want to mention Irene’s she quoted a verse in 2tim 4:7”I have fought the good fight I have finished my course I have kept the faith" because the very next day in class that was the scripture Zamboni gave us a devotional about. And how Paul had fought the good fight he had conquered the natural man. This got me thinking and so I studied the scriptures a bit more and was reminded of the Great Captain Moroni who in Alma 47 we are told "if all men had been and would be like unto him the very foundation of hell would shake." I was just so Amazed at these examples of great Followers of Christ of course there are so many, and just wondering what made these great men so great in their faith and unshakeable in their testimonies. Their examples are truly something I aspire to and wish I could someday become like them. Somehow overcome the natural man and "delight in keeping the commandments" as Nephi did. So far the best way I have fond to begin on that path of spiritual strength is by prayer. Constantly praying to our father in heaven. It is by prayer that our faith increases and our spirit comes into line with the will of god.

I love you guys and I’m out of time..... Sadness

With all my love,

Elder Howe

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week Two

Bom Tarde! (Good afternoon)

Man this week flew by, I’m so glad that its p-day and I get to email you! I got your letters from the 6th yesterday in the mail its always so nice to get mail, right now I have received more mail than anyone else in the district a whole 3 letters all from my loving family:) ahah but seri the mail flow down here is so slow. So thank you for the letters and the stickers and also I love how you guys decorate them haha

Let me see where do I start about the last week, Thursday we got Brazilian roommates. They like to stay up late... so it’s hard to get to bed. haha but they are super awesome and they teach us some Portuguese. we try to have a phrase of the day; sometimes it’s harder to translate then others. like one day it was "what’s that..." took 30min to figure it out... it was so confusing. hahah It really cool though to see how the church is really a worldwide thing. these other young men have set aside 2 years of their life and have decided to give it to the lord, just like me, and when I realize that we have that in common it really makes the language barrier we have seem so small.

This week we also got a chance to teach our first lesson in Portuguese... mmm let me step back for a sec. so our teachers we have two, brother Zamboni and sister Elias. Zamboni has us in the morning Elias in the afternoon. so they give us "investigators" to teach with backgrounds and everything, and we go knock on their door (a class room) and practice all our teaching and all the skills we need to develop. SO for these first 2 weeks they have been majority in English, but yesterday we had to do it all in Portuguese, needless to say it was a short lesson... hahah we said in shattered Portuguese "we have a Father in heaven who loves us" "Christ is central to his plan." and "though (that was a tough word to remember in Portuguese) Christ we can return to him." hahah they was it. we then asked her to come to church and to read 2ne chapter 2 about the plan of salvation. haha she accepted both challenges so I guess it could have gone worse. It was quite amazing to me though that we were able to say that much to her, the lord will truly bring the things to your mind that you have studied just like he promises in DC 11.

earlier in the week I got really excited for going to Teresina because someone said something about Teresina other than its hot, or "it's so hot your skin will turn this color (pointing to my black pants). Sister Elias said the people of Teresina are so nice they will let you in their homes, always. I was like YES!!! that made me sooo excited to get up there and teach those people who are just so ready to receive the gospel, I feel like it will be like when alma taught the poor in heart in chapter 32 about faith, (obvi I’m not alma so it won’t make it into the Book of Mormon" but I hope it can be just as spiritual for the people of Teresina as it was for those who were taught by Alma.

Sunday was such an awesome day... AGAIN! haha the sacrament meetings here are so awesome, I can’t even describe it. there were 3 speakers; you just get called out of the audience so everyone holds their breath. but anyway the talks were good 2 were on the Book of Mormon and one was on patience and humility. but as I was sitting there I just got this overwhelming surge of love for all the guys in my district. I had been praying for quite some time that the lord would bless me with charity and that I could feel the love he has for them. and he gave me that blessing, it was truly awesome. I have been working on further developing that charity and the lord has continued to bless me by giving me chances to see how awesome they all really are, and that they also want to serve the lord, but just like all of us we are not perfect and we get distracted, and fall off course a little bit. Another thing I realized over the week that kind of humbled me even more is these men have all been called of God, and they are just like me in every way.

Another awesome even was at the fireside Sunday night the speaker told us to go and write in our journal: "why are you a missionary?" and as soon as he asked if I began thinking and I came to the realization that when I first put in my papers it was simply for the reason that I wanted to do it, I wanted to serve the lord. It was my choice and it was just what I wanted to do, but then over the summer and with some more study I came to realize that I am a missionary because I want others to feel the joy of the atonement in their lives. this life is way too short to go though holding feeling of guilt and sadness for things that we have done in the past and the amazing thing it that those feelings can become joy. Alma 36 recounts alma and the pains he had "the pains of a dammed soul" then after a turned his thoughts to Christ and his mind caught hold of that his "joy was so exceedingly great, yea as did exceed my pain." truly the atonement of Christ is the single most important event in the world and I want others to see what it can do for them, their friends and their families. It will affect them not for the rest of their lives but for the rest of TIME.

I got to go to the temple again today. it’s such an awesome place I look forward to returning there next week. Just going to the temple makes me happy and then being there with these other Elders makes it 1000x better!!! I love you GUYS SO MUCH THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO!!!

With Love,

Elder Howe

ps. sister empey got here today; I was able to shake her hand so she is safe in Sao Paulo!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

First Week

BOM DIA!!!! (bomb-gia)
That's good day in portuguese haha. so the mtc first week has been awesome!! It is such a place of learning! ok but first to answer some questions.
1) st. mary didnt work, i didnt get my leaf :( the took it out hahah but i did get all your letters yesterday including the one from dear elder, so it takes about 6 days for mail to get here.
2) U cant send me packages in the MTC and the adress for when i get out is in all my call packet.
3) My p-day is Wenesday SURPRISE!
4) No sister empy yet... but i imagine ill see her soon, maybe.
5) my return mail takes like a week. so if i get a letter after p-day it might take 3 weeks to get a response even if i am able to wirte back that first p-day so everyone please have pacience.
So I guess ill(I dont have an apostrophe) just start with when i left. The filght to JFK was good and i met up with 6 other missionaries at JFK. All were coming from Provo, some had been there for 8 weeks (im in here for 9 weeks then we go into the field). So this one Elder Sampson was just like speaking Portuguese like it was his job, he is now out in the field he just left yesterday. The flight to Sao Paulo was LONG. I sat next to a native Brazillian he was really cool and could speak english(he actually learned it from missionaries ha). So we talked about a lot of stuff. The first day we got here (the picture you saw was like after no sleep and no shower so really not the best time for a group photo) and it was really just a day to relax and recover.

I met 3 other Elders going to Teresina, we are rooming together; Elder King, Elder Davis, and my companion Elder Cooper. They are all super awesome! The only thing was they all had name tags. They all got theirs with their visas! i was so confused so for the first day i didnt have a name tag and everyone kept asking me in portuguese where it was... i didnt know what they were saying hahah. but i have one now so its all good. the next day we began learning some portuguese, mostly how to pray and pronounce everything. But in this one week i have learned as much portuguese as i did spanish in my first 2 years, of course you guys understand that means i know next to nothing but its still some progress and im pleased with it.

My teacer Irmão (bother) Zamboni (like the ice cleaner) is a BOSS! he is 4 years off his mission and he is such a good teacher it is amazing to see his love for us translated to teaching. We have done mock teaching appointments, ITS SO hard!!! oh my gosh, our teachers play the invesgatior and like they are such good actors its scary... Me and elder cooper keep bombing it, and not being able to teach Simple truths mixed with learning the language has made this first week such a humbling experience.

The Food here is pretty good i have grown to like beans and rice at every meal haha its nice and fills you up. they give fruit at every meal and it's really good.

Whenever i tell people my mission they just say very hot! haha so thats not a good sign, thats literally all i have learned about my mission is that it is the hottest place in Brazil. the weather here is super nice but right now im hot because on p-day they let you out and you can walk around the shops and stuff which is like1000x better then provo because provo you are not allowed outside ever unless your going to the temple. Oh we got to go to the temple this morning, it was so awesome to go through with 80 other missionaries and it was in english so that was really nice.

The MTC is truly amazing, on sunday it was testimony meeting, and man the spirit did not hold back, I cant remember a time when i fet the sprit so strongly. Maybe Testimony meeting at EFY or after youth conference but it was crazy how strong and smart all these guys are. all these missionaries are so awesome and truly called of God, that i know for sure Heavenly Father is looking down and smiling at us becasue we are all so willing to do his work and allign our selves with his will. Even the spirit in this building is amazing, you can truly tell it is a place where god prepares his sons and daughters to learn his gosple and teach his children of Brazil.

Monday we had a devotional by President Evans of the presidency of the 70. His testimony was so powerful, after he taught us for over an hour and kept us engaged the whole time he testified that of the savior that he knew his savior lived, he said Quote: I know my savior lives, it is no longer a matter of faith for me." oh he said that and i just got goose bumps all over my body. i had never hear anyone testify of that. i had felt impressions of the spirit of that when listening to some of the apostles speak, like holland and his talk about the atonement, but it hit me so hard when Elder Evans said it, I know he has seen our lord, and i know that if we are pure in heart just like the scriptures say we may also get to see God, but even if we are not blessed in this life to see him i know that one day i will get to bow my self before him and feel the prints in his hands and his feet i will get to weep at his feet and thank him for the wonderful things he has done in my life.

This week like i said has been truly humbling experience. I have learned that man in nothing... I am nothing. I haved learned that inorder to learn you must rely on the savior and have faith in him. The mix of not knowing how to teach and not knowing portuguese had made this week a monstrous mountain to start climbing. but i know that with your guys support and some miracles from the lord i might leave this MTC with a little understanding of how to speak to this fine chlildern of god and maybe be able to teach them some of the gospel. I love you guys so much! and am sorry i cant write you all i only have 30min and it is not nearly enough time to read and write you all. but i hope i answered the main questions you guys have and if i didnt you can always send it again.
I know this is where the lord wantes me to be, even more so i know this is were the lord wants all his sons ages 19-26 to be. Spreading his glorous news that He loves us, his son died for us, that the same church jesus himself established is once again on the earth, and it was restored by Joseph Smith who was a prophet of God. Today the Lord still speaks to us though the prophets and we have one alive on the earth today. The Book of Mormon is another testament of christ and if you read from it and ask the Lord if it is true he will let you know though the spirit that it is. and why not give it a shot, you dont lose anything by asking.
I love you guys and pray for you daily, I hope you guys can pray for me to learn what to teach and to learn the language, and pray for those that i will teach, that their hearts may be open and that they may be prepared to hear this gospel.
Elder Howe

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pictures from Last Days in VA

Here are a few pictures with family and friends before Elder Howe departed to Brazil.

Burger Time

BFFs for life

Carmen, Jim and Mom

Dad, Elder, and Mom

Older siblings

Matt and Irene

Classic sibling pic

Elder Howe and Aunt Helen

Grandma Howe


The whole family

Last photo before security

Elder Howe arrives to Brazil MTC

Below is a letter received from the President of the Brazil MTC informing us of Elder Howe's safe arrival. We are so glad he made it safely. 

These are all the missionaries that arrived today (11/2/11). Elder Howe is in the middle, 3rd row back.

Dear Parents,

We are happy to send the good news that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil MTC.  What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they come through the front door of the MTC for the first time. We promise to take good care of your missionary.
They now have companions and are settled into their rooms.  They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study.  The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give them a second greeting.  These couples are rewarded in their callings through the love they always develop as they embrace and watch over the missionaries.
The MTC has a full time live-in physician to care for their health needs.  He is assisted by his able wife. We are also happy to report that the Cafeteria food is abundant and very good.
Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple.  This will be either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on individual assignments.
Your very important young person is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others.  We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote by President Lorenzo Snow: “There is no mortal man that is so much interested in the success of an elder [sister] when he is preaching the gospel as the Lord that sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord’s children.”
Please accept our love,
President Donald L Clark and Sister Zaza Clark
DO NOT SEND PACKAGES to the Brazil Missionary Training Center. All packages must be sent directly to the mission where your missionary will be serving not the MTC. If you have already mailed a package to the Brazil MTC and it arrives after your missionary has left for the field, please understand that the package can not be forwarded to his or her mission and will be returned to you. The only other option is for us to open the package and forward the letters and photographs, giving the rest of the content of the package to the missionaries that are here.
WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE SENDING HAND WRITTEN LETTERS. Please write your missionary´s first and last name. Your missionary will provide you with his district and box number. Also, please DO NOT SEND ANYTHING BY FEDEX, DHL, UPS, or other private carriers.  The cost to get this type of correspondence is exorbitant.