Brexton has been sent off to Vitoria, Brazil for his LDS mission.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday December 29th, 2015

I thought a lot about the things that we talked about and how I couldnt think of a miracle to share. I felt that it looked really bad, I want you to know that yes we have tons of miracles and yes I do recognize them but in the day to day routine and doing the exact same thing everyday for a year and almost 5 months. Your mind becomes a litte less active then normal and your memory worse. So I will start by explaining a miracle of which I feel imensly grateful to have participated. SO...

Firday morning I'm getting ready when the Woman that lives up stairs starts moaning and making a lot of noise and it got to the point when you feel really uncomfortable beause I began to think, maybe she is dying or having a heart attack or something like that. I literally thought she was dying... So I thought well I'll go pray for her. And that little voice made a comment. You can do more than that you are a Priesthood Holder, you can give her a blessing. then all those thoughts come rushing in. It's morning, I'll break the rules and wont study and I'll have to go out and ring their doorbell and so and so forth but I felt that it was the right thing to do. So about 8 o'clock  in the morning we are outside ringing their doorbell, and trying to get their attention. The man comes to the window and We explain to him a little about the Priesthood and that we heard his wife in pain and would like to giver her a blessing and he consents to let us in. SO after waiting a while he called us up ( he know the missionaries really well, he's lived above them for probably 10 years) And we talk to him and his wife for about 10 mins and they explain that she head surgery and was fine and then recently she is having a ton of muscle pain and nerve pain in her legs and they tighten up and lock and her leg twists, its like all the muscles in her leg in a charlie horse. All of them. So we explain about the priesthood and askk if she would like to receive a blessing. She said yes and her husband (has 3 herniated disks) also said he wanted one. So we have her a blessing and we gave him one as well. The Peace in that room was so strong, the comfort was incredible. YOu cannot describe the peace and the love that filled that room. The SPirit was so strong and they both felt relieved. I felt so happy, I love when I have an opportunity to use the Priesthood because it is the power of God given to men worthy to bless the children of God here on earth. IT is a real power and is true. I Love the Priesthood and know that It is the Power of God. I have had so many amazing experiences with the Priesthood, and I invite ALL men to HONOR their Priesthood, and treasure it because it is a sacred gift. 

So yes that was one miracle that happened this week. We also had that woman that I explained to you about her and her daughter, go to church. Just her, her daughter didn't go. but she LOVED church and was so happy. I called her last night because she went to another city after church and we couldnt visit her and she was so HAPPY!!!! She loved church, she is reading the book of mormon, she will go next week again she knew a member already from the other ward and she is stopping smoking. She has smoke only one cigar a day. Huge. SO all we need to do know is mark a date :) yep I'm excited and praying hard. But I love you all and I hope that you all are having an amazing holiday and that you all are sharing the gospel with everyone that you can. Love you tons and miss you more,

Elder Simonsen

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday December 15, 2014

Well this week has actually been a super fun week but honestly not too much happened. It was the last week in the transfer and we had our christmas party for our zone. We had so much fun this week at the party. First we had a mini district party in our district meeting and we had apple pie. One of the sisters in our district made it and it was amazing!!! My companion almost cried because he was so happy, she also made cinamon rolls and the elders brought coke. Then that day we had lunch and stayed at the church playing volleyball and eating cake and popsicles and had a huge water fight. We also got our district shirts that we made that day. We have some pretty sweet shirts. They were a little expensive but they are pretty sweet. I would send a picture but the computer still doesnt work with the camera. We had so much food on that day it was amazing. The next day we could hardly move because we were so sore. Other than that not much has really happened
We had an investigator that was getting ready to get baptized but she cut us and then we have a couple others but they arent progressing any more so we are in the process of finding new investigatos and trying to help the others progress. They have something that is stopping them and we just have to figure out what it is. So this next transfer is 7 the next trasnfer date is in february. Which I'm sure happy because now we can spend christmas here with the people that we already know and love. The problem is we have to figure out if they will be home that day.
Anyways I'm still working on reading the bible and the book of mormon. I actually this week, read all of Samuel. It was an interesting learning experience. I started focusing on the life of samuel and how he was and ended up being enveloped in the lives of Saul and David and wondering a lot about their attributes and their obedience to Heavenly Father and then how they fell. That the reason they fell, is because of Pride. That they thought themselves better and because of that thought themselves above the rules. Saul offered a sacrifice in the place of the Prophet and David fell because of Bethsheba. And later Soloman fell because he worshiped other Gods. These were 3 great kings who in turn and with time fell. Each one of them great and extremely obedient and blessed by the Lord but didnt endure to the end. Where as we have an example of 3 good kings in the book of Mormon. KIng's Mosiah, Bejamin, and Mosiah. They were humble, always sought to do the Lords will and serve Him in all circumstances. Their humilty made them great and they truly loved and served the people. They endured to the end, and they were great in the eyes of the Lord. So it was just something that I noticed and was thinking about how we can compare the Kings and learn from them. In summary, trust in the Lord and serve Him with all your heart, mind, might and strength. It all boils down to Loving the Lord, and keeping His comandments. As President Packer says "which way do you face?" SO just one thing I learned this week and thought interesting to share. I love you all a ton and I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas season and that you share the gospel with someone that you love. "For God So Loved The World That He Gave His Only Begotten Son...." -John 3:16
Elder Simonsen

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday December 8th, 2014

So this week we had the wonderful opportunity to work in the neighborhood close to the chapel. And we worked hard, we taught a lot and actually have investigators. We have people who are progressing and we were extremely blessed to have a ton of people at church sunday during the stake conference. A couple of them only need to be baptized but are never home and so we cant teach them. But the ward is helping a ton where we cant seem to progress. I feel so blessed and so grateful for the members of the ward who help the missionaries and help following up with their investigators just asking how they are talking to them when the missionaries cant and helping respond the questions they have when the missionaries arent there. We are trying to find families, that is our( me and my companona and couple of other elders in our district) focus. I know that this ward really needs preisthood holders and that they need someone who can help lead and I know the Lord will provide a way. SO working a ton, teaching a ton and having a ton of fun. 
I really enjoyed studying the plan of salvation and really developling an understanding deeper of the basic principles and this week we taught one of our investigators about the plan of salvation and i have such  great love for this plan. It really is perfect and is so immense and so amazing. If you havent studied the plan of salvation you should take some time to ponder on the questions of life, like why are we here and where are we going and if there is life after death. We have met many athiests this week and it makes me sad that they cant see the Lords hand or that they choose not to. We had some people who actually denied everything that we know to be true. The Father and the Son completely. HE said that he only believed in nature and that everything just fell into place. I know however that that is not true, that there exsists a divine creator and that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that everything is a testimony that he exsists and that it is as clear as the difference between the night and day. I'm learning to defend better what I believe to be be right and to trust in the Lord completely, you answer to HIm. The Lord will wait to see if you will be faithfull to the responses He gave you.
I'm super excited for christmas and cannot wait until I have the opportunity to talk with you all, my english isnt very good, but after a while I can talk a little. We only have 30 minutes to 45 to talk this year but the time will soon come when I will actually be home. I'm read luke in spanish, the book of mormon in portuguese and Jesus the Christ in Englsih. Haha lots of fun right. BUt my spanish is very portuguesish. and american. I'm super gratful for this time to serve and i know this things are true. If you don't know ask of God and He will answer. I love you and And I invite you all to come unto Christ and to read the book of Mormon.
Love Elder Simonsen.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday December 1st, 2014 (pictures too!!!!)

Alrighty so I'll wrtie quick today because I've lost a lot of my time today playing around with computers. This is the 3rd one i'm using and I honestly have no idea how much time I've used....but anyways thanks for the emails this week has been one of the more fun weeks in both definitions. We worked, we laughed and we had a few more exciting difficult moments. 

So this week really we just worked a ton. We had a ton of doors and intercoms closed on us and we managed to teach 10 lessons this whole week................that's about one a day.......and it rained the whole week. But we are doing the Lord's work, the way He wants it done, and we are working super hard. We are doing a ton of divisions as well, and helping out the elders on the other side of the river, but we are all growing closer and working to bring Heavenly Father's children. To him. so first of all, kiara's letter won't get there for her birthday, I'm still working on it. The others letters were rejected when I went to the post office today because I put a couple coins they couldn't be sent. BUt in due time the letters will come. So the big news of this week were things that me and my companion did this week. We bought some saugsage that they have only here in brazil and tired to cook it like they didnt work out right but we manged to actually cook it and it turned out amazing! and I made egg salad and we had tortillhas and basically made breakfast burritos. Then the next day lunch fell, so I made french toast we used the maple syrup of the other american in our house and we had sausage, french toast and egg salad. It was amazing! You never realize how much you miss the simple things. So today I'm going to make hot dogs, brazilian style, which are super amazing good. But are super simple to make. (i'm stitll working on the super amazng good part)

But other than that we had our zone conference, which was good. Then The sisters in our district had an activity on their side of the river with the ward of the other elders in our district and it was a super amazing activity. It was  about the plan of salvation and what they did is they planned 3 rooms to represent the 3 kingdoms and we used the stage to be a make shift airplane and the sisters dressed like flight attendents and so everyone borded the plane. It hit turbulance and everyone died. It was really funny when it hit turbulance and they were flashing the lights and the humor of everyone is super funny. I recorded the activity with one the sisters cameras, maybe I can get the film later. But it was really cool because the celestial room had the spirit super strong and had that differnce you feel when you are on temple grounds. It was a super well planed out activity and was really cool to have been  a part. I took pictures of us setting up but the camera doesnt work in this lan house....

But you asked what I have been studying this week and i read the email you sent last week and I've been focusing a lot on prayer and the power that comes from prayer. It truly is amazing how prayer makes a difference in your spirituality and changes the world. I cannot even explain the diffirences that mighty prayer has made this week and the comfort that it brings and the peace. It truly has made this week so much better and has helped me handle some situations better then I would have. I've also grown so much in understanding this week really pondering the scriptures and trying to understand them and apply them in ourlives. I'm pondering a lot of the Plan of Salvationa and it truly is amazing how the spirit lights up your mind and gives you answers and leads you to paths that you never knew exsisted. When elder MAzargadi was here he explained that he learned more about the temple when he was a long ways away from the temple and couldnt attend the temple as much as he would have liked to. YOu really have to treasure and ponder the things that you learn and feel and then the spirit lightens your mind and opens your understanding. I've truly grown to love and appreciate the temple more, in this time that I am so far away and the book of momon. 

I love you all and miss you so much.

Love Elder Simonsen

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday November 24th, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

did you get my letter?!

Yeah I didn't get your letter last week. Got it today with all the pictures and the updates. But its all good. 

So the lesson of this week was patience and working with others and trying to be like Jesus. I'm studying a lot the difference between micro managing and follow-up. So this week was interesting because of that. BUt this week is a new week, we can start fresh, leave everthing behind and keep moving forward. 

So this week the sisters had a baptism, so my companion and I went there saturday night and it was such a spiritual baptism. Her name is Gerceli and almost her whole family is a member of the church. So at her baptism she had her daughter, son in law( who is the old bishop) her granddaughters and then a couple members of the ward but I and the sisters, were sohappy she was baptized. The spirit was testifying so strong to her and when I had the opportunities to talk to her she was so excited and ready to be baptized. It's really cool to see tha changes that happen in our lives and the lives of others here in the mission. 

Anyways I only have half an hour left to write...i don't know where the time goes, Literally I write president and read all the mission letters and i have almost no time. and then you sit at the computer and you forget everything...BUt we are working in a super rich area here in campos, Elder MAzzergardi asked us to work with people who would be the next leaders in the church and especifically with men who can recieve the priesthood. So he then asked us to work with the we have spent about a week in this neighborhood and all i can say is wow....crazy to see how the other half live. There are bmw's passing in the street and you walk by the houses and your constantly saying "wow....look at this house!" and this neighborhood really isnt that rich of a neighborhood. Its called flamboyant but its not a super rich but they are very well off. Haha so we had a lot of fun in that neighborhood, walking around trying to teach and spending a majority of the day pushing buttons to talk with people through intercoms.It's a lot easier to reject when they cant see you face to face. THis is actually the first time I've had doors shut in my face, but for every person that rejects us we get closer to the one that will say yes! There has to be at least one person that will accept our message. So we are searching for gold in a river of sand. But all comes with time and patience. 

I'm also studying a lot of the plan of salvation and I'm getting one scripture for everyday that during the day when we are on the bus that I read and reflect a little about and try to examine the scriptures and understand them and read the story that wasnt written. IT's truly amazing how the spirit oopens your eyes and lets you see something that you had never seen before. 

Alrigthy so the computer turned off and luckly it all saved but I'll send the letter before it happens again. Just got all of your letters that you sent today and hope you have an awesome birthday MOM!!! LOVE YOU TONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Simonsen

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday November 17th, 2014

Alrigthy one more week and even less time to write and this keyboard is killing me. so we'll see how it goes. todays response won't be long because of that.

So this week we worked....most of the week. Tuesday we didn't sleep because we were going to vitória for a meeting with Elder Mazzergadi (SP?) the first counselor in the area presidency. So we left here about 2 in the morning but we went to the bus station around 11 because all of the other elders were there and we didn't want to risk missing the bus.We got home that night around 11 and then I think finally made it to bed around 12:30...or 1 something like that. So we spent the rest of the week pretty tired and running a lot in our area. The major events are really only the conference that we had with him. It was a super good conference and talked a lot about the spirit and doing missionary work the good right way and working with families and helping the church grow instead of dividing the work. Working with membrer and less actives to find the new ones and reactivate. Which is a huge problem here in brazil. Of the 600 members of the ward about 70 are active, so they are trying to switch the number or at least have a better ratio. HE talked about music and what music does in our lives and how it affects our spirit and it's more powerful than drugs. how we have to watch our selves and do what is right. It was a super spiritual meeting and taught us a lot. He speaks fluently Portuguese, english, spanish,  and italian. It was hard to figure out where he was from because he talked so fluently in english and new so well our geography that there were moments i thought he was american but he's from São Paulo, and is a convert from the church. He is a super good man and has a testimony super strong. 

Other than that we are studying the scriptures working hard and doing our best to help the wards grow here in Campos. Talking with more men doing what needs to be done to help the kingdom of God grow. I hope all is well at home an that everyone is reading the book of mormon. ITs so important to read and to cherish and to study. It is the iron rod and will show you the way. Be humble and meek and alwlays remember who you are. And sorry this letter is so short, I'll seend pictures today. Read the book of mormon, it is true

Love Elder Simonsen

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday November 10th, 2014

Alrighty so this week was super crazy but Ill try to get it all in. This week flew by and honestly was super hard and interesting. SO monday was pretty normal, tuesday i spent some time down town getting supplies for the elders in the zone....and ensuring the fact that the people of our district get their supplies. Long story short we carried a microwave for about 35 mins walking to our house only to get there and realize that we didn't have keys...and the zone leaders were too far away to open our we managed to get the door open :) when you got an Brazilain Special forces and American Air force together....we'll just say that doors or locks cant stop them ;) but locking doors is a different story. Haha because we couldnt relock the door afterwards and just called the zone leaders and they locked the door later that night. Then this week we had an open house at the church and its a super great idea but we didn't have much time to pass out the invites and stuff like that, so we didn't have too many people. It was thursday, friday and saterday. And of these 3 days 2 of them I spent in divisions and doing interviews for baptism and helping with other things, but I spent friday there trying to help. We had the opportunity to watch 4 or 5 movies because we were waiting for people to come visit and I thought it would be a great idea if the member there watched movies while we were waiting. ANd it actually worked out really well. We watched on the lords errand, the legacy, special witness of christ, finding happiness, and a bunch of other church films I found in the library. IT really brought the spirit and helped the members be strenghtened.

SO yeah I don't have too much to report on this week. It happened so fast that I'm not sure what really happened. I'm still studying the Book of Mormon and a little of the bible, I've picked up Jesus the Christ again a little , and the Lord is truely providing for us because we are having people come to church, and a lot of missionaries don't have any investigators going to church. But we don't have any investigators. Literally we really don't have any because we have been running around so much, but I stayed for this next transfer so this week will be a lot easier and we will have a ton of time to work and draw closer to the Lord. IF anything I've grown more sure of my future plans and learned how to ponder better the principles of the gospel this week. I'm running and having tons of fun and all is well in this part of Zion. I will need a new journal soon though, so if you could get one of those ones I like i would be super happy. ONly one though and as for supplies I'm good. When you send music only send it in mp3 format, because if not it wont play. I love being here in Campos and I'm so happy for this opportunity to serve the Lord and grow closer to Him. I love you all and hope all is well and that you all are reading your scriptures daily and serving those you love and all you know.. This week we will be in Vitoria wednesday for a conference with a member of the Brazil Area Presidency, so should have plenty of changes coming our way. I'm super excited and hope that I can learn lots.  
I love you all and miss you tons.
Love Elder Simonsen

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday November 3rd, 2014

Yeah so this week flew by super fast and I honestly dont know what happened. We taught a lot this week, and had a "normal" week. We had interviews with President Young which was super cool but I'll talk more about that later.
Really this week we worked a ton and don't have too much to show for it. Of all the people we had lined up to go to church 2 of them came, the other 3 are people that are really difficult to teach and actually just showed up to church. So we were supeer excited about that and now we have to just find a time to teach them....also getting to their houses will be fun because they live in a place called Goytacazes, that is like a little town inside Campos. Its not too far away but we dont have a map for that area so we get lost pretty quiclky. But it was a super huge blessing to have investigators at church beause most of the rest of the district didn't have any one.  We met a lot of people this week with tough vies on the world and their thought process is a little different....most of the people with whom we actually taught either didnt believe in God or thought the only church that exsists is the catholic church.  WHich has to do with the Brazilian culture. BUt enough said we are super excited for p-day today. Time to rest and relax and maybe do a little cleaning and sleeping.....or write letters.
Anyways so we had interviews with President Like I already said and interviews with him are always amazing. He truely is a Chirst-like man and I am so grateful that he was called to be our mission president. I truely know that the Lord calls those who are needed, where they are needed and I have no doubt that President Young follows  Gods counsel. It's not as easy to follow some of the other mission leaders but it helps knowing that the President will always do whats right and follow the Spirit. SO I'm trying to be more obedient to those that he has called to be our leaders.......................yeah I'm working on it. Its tough sometimes because I don't always agree......but its getting better and things are working right and these last 3 transfers have been really good. Lots of change. BUt anyways the interviews with him are always super spiritual and he and sister Young have such a huge love for all the missionaries and they alway seek to serve us and uplift us and inspire us. He always says uplifting things. It's really easy to talk with him. Well to at least open up, talking in english was super hard.......but things Are good and  I'm super happy here in Campos. Only missing music, haha so  mom if you could send me a super cheap mermory card I would be so grateful. It doesnt need to be big, maybe 2 GB becuase if it gets a virus again I don't want to keep loosing money. I've been taking music from the chruch website and listening to it. Old music from confrences and some from the youth site. Just a couple because I do not like most of the efy songs. I found a really interesting if you could hie to kolob that the choir did during conference a couple years back, and them I get a couple songs that they did. Like consider the lillies, and a couple christmas or other songs that i can think of. I also put a lot of conference on the memory card. But its nice becuase we can choose what we put on.
BUt I'velearned the importance of music in keeping the spirit and how truly the hymns bring the Spirit into our lives and helps us think more about the Lord and the Gospel. They can prepare you to study with the Spirit and help you calm down at night. Anyways we'll see how it goes when I get back though becuase I am really missing some Taylor Swift songs ;)  But the lesson this week is to work and to follow the Spirit. Walk in the Spirit and follow what he inspires you to do. Study the scriptures and do what is right. Follow the church leaders, Preach my GOspel, and be exactly obedient. ALWAYS read the BOOK OF MORMON and you will have a huge spiritual force in your lives and you will have the Spirit to be with you IF you keep the commandments and always remember Him. Then you will teach with power and authority and you will do miracles in the lives of our Father's children.
I love you all and miss you tons,
Love Elder Simonsen

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday October 27th, 2014

SOOOOOOOOO this week we had emergency transfers...........because there were two new americans that were coming in from the states. So my companion was transfered, monday night at about 4 on p-day. SO tuesday we had to go to Vitória and first of all we almost missed the bus, but then we were about 2 hours into the trip when the traffic stops....about one hour north of the rio border in Espirito Santo. And the traffic didnt move again for 6 more hours..............literally 6 hours the bus was stopped in traffic and did not move. Turns out that about 2km in front of us two 18 wheeelers had collided and a small car got caught in the mix, I think 3 people died and the trucks were completely destroyed. It took about 8 hours for them to clean up the road and open the lanes again. We got there after the first 2 hours. It was an interesting experience. Being on a bus from 9 in the morning until 6:30 at night...we got to know our neighbors really well. We got almost everyones address and we taught 3 lessons. We saw a sloth in the forest next to the bus. They are super huge and I tried to take a picture but I couldnt get the zoom to focus so....I don't have a picture. Also when we were there we ate Goiyaba, which is a fruit super common here. ONe of the people on the bus go hungry and went looking for food and found a goiyaba tree. SO we tried a little bit but they had goiyaba bugs so we didn't eat too much ;) 

Anyways I got to vitoria and my new companion is Elder McKnight from virginia/utah(USU) he has 1 year and 5 months in the mission, and my compnion got a new american from Kansas Elder Spain. Who doesnt speak any portuguese and elder gonzalez doesnt speak any english and has a heavy spanish accent....should be fun for them :) but they live with a couple other americans so its all good. Elder Spain will learn quick but he was super nervous. We slept in Cariacica that night and then got the bus around 7 to come back to campos. Anyways we have 4 americans in the house of course that means trouble or fun depending how you want to look at it ;) So thursday lunch fell for us and they had money, so we made navoo tacos. And Elder Reinhardt has a hot sauce, that is super hot. Like you put one drop on the food mix and you are still crying....sooo of course we had a hot sauce competition...need less to say no one really won but everyone "cried" but we are having a ton of fun and working harder. We didn't  have too much time to work in our area this week because we were traveling to do interviews for baptisms on the other side of the city. 

And we had a baptism this week. Her name is Larissa and she is 17. SHe lives exactly in front of the church. She got invited by a friend to go to abaptist church sunday night and she invited us to go with her. SO yesterday night we went to the 2nd baptist church of Campos. Its a little different than the baptist churches in florida or the states but it was an interesting experience. They like to sing a lot more than we do. 

Anyways the lessons learned this week: obedience to the mission rules. We have been having a super hard time going to bed at 10:30. USually we are passing the things of the district to the ZOne leaders about 10:20 and then we have to get ready to go to bed. Our district is us, the zone leaders, 2 compnaionships of sisters and 2 companionships of elders. SO we are brainstorming better ways to follow up. BUt these last 4 weeks its been super hard to get to bed at the right time and its taking its toll, I havent been able to write in my journal and its super hard to get up and excercise in the morning. Almost impossible. And if you arent fully awake, personal study isnt as spiritual and the day is harder to start. You also cant really pray very well in the morning when you are super tired.... SO My goal this week is to be in bed at 10:30. I remember in the beginning of the mission it was so much easier to be obedient and you have a greater power in teaching when you are obedient. The Spirit is so much easier to hear and testifies. SO what I'm going to try and do is slow things down this week. Work more on being obedient and on the christ like attributes. I'm still reading the bible and the book of Mormon and its still going good. 

I'm so grateful to be here in the mission and I'm so grateful for the gospel in my life. The knowledge that I have about my Reedemer and His plan for each one of us. There is a decision that we all have to make in our lives we have to .."choose this day whom we will serve" and like Joshua every day I'm doing my best to choose the Lord. It really is that simple. You choose to be obedient, you choose to follow the Lords counsel, you choose to do whats right. You can choose to be a man of God or you can choose to follow the natural man. It really is as simple as the light and the day. I love you all and i hope you all choose to do whats right and that you all do the small things so that the big things take care of themselves. Read the scriptures, say your prayers, go to church, and help another. Remember who you are and what you stand for and that excellence is not an act but a habit.I love you all and miss you tons and cant wait to see you all again. Until then for ZIon!
Love, Elder SImonsen

"Tudo vai dar Certo!" -Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday October 20th, 2014

Week 3 in Campos, Rio de Janiero

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday October 13, 2014

No I havent seen blue yet and I'm in the state Rio not the city :P I'm about 4 hours north of the city and I'm in the most southern point of the mission (Zone wise at least) so I'll never actually make it to Rio the city. I would like to but we don't have that liberty. But yeah it's really good here, the people are super nice and the ward works super hard. All of the young women are always giving refrences for the missionaries. They don't really have any young women in our ward but the ward next to ours has a ton. We have all the young men though...they just don't do too much. But they are willing to do divisions :) Which is a huge relief. BEcause basically my companion is the pianist for the 2 wards. What ever activity that has piano he is there............and he is teaching piano lessons twice a week for 2 hours.....and we spend a lot of time sitting at the church.......and he (my companion) has lots of leg pains and foot we don't really go anywhere or when we do we take the bus or these vans that are like buses here and we lose a lot of time waiting for them.....yeah we teach about one lesson per day...........................................................but its all good, things will get better. The sun is still shining and I'm marking tons of divisions so that I can leave and work and use the members a ton and it's going to be fun. Challenge accepted. Also we have 4 other companionships in our district that live about an hour away. But its all for the work and for the good of Zion ;) So I'm working a lot on patience and keeping a good, happy attitude. But I will not compromise the standards or mission rules. That's were the fun comes in. I follow the rules and Preach my Gospel :) 

But anyways it has been a really fun learning week. I've started to study the new testament in english because I really want to focus on  understanding the principles and applying them and becoming more like Christ. I'm not going super fast but I'm making my way. I'm on matthew 9 ANd there is so much to learn. Reading in english is so much clearer and it's like a whole new world, but I'm trying not to read too much in english because I teach in portuguese. BUt I am really enjoying studying the new testament and the teachings of Christ. I really liked matthew 4:4 " Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God"

Thats really tough about soccer but that probably is a good thing because coach west is a very tough coach and she always, always grabs freshman. Every year half her team is freshman. I've never understood why because they are usally injured or super tired by junior year. But if she keeps practicing and working hard she doesn't need to play this year, she could make it next or just skip high school and go straight to college :) 

As for flu shots, missionaries don't get shots or go to the doctor during the mission. You work and if you need something because you get sick then you go. Other than that you don't get the yearly shots or do yearly check-ups. So my last pendrive.....I think it has a virus as well because it's skipping talks that I put on for conference last I'm not to sure exactly what's going on and why music is so difficult and why I can't ever seem to listen to what I want. But Idk if you should send another memory card. The problem is that I might just give up on music and just sing myself. Memory cards are 30 reals here for 16 gb. Which would be 15 dollars. Which was the last memory card I had but I don't know how to avoid viruses because we always use lan-houses and dowloading conference and music from the churches youth site you somehow get viruses (probably because the computer itself) so maybe I'll buy another maybe not. I don't want to spend money because I would like to save it for when Ireally need it after the mission. And yes I would be super happy if courtney was there for christmas so that I can talk to her before she goes out to byu-I that would be nice.

Alrighty I love you all and miss you tons!

Elder Simonsen

ps. Dad: Still waiting for your email 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday October 6th, 2014

Alrighty so yes transfers................................................RIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah I left the state, I'm in Rio. Campos is the name of the city. IT's pretty nice, it's a little hot sometimes which I love but it's been really cold recently. Like I feel like it's super cold. My companion is Elder Gonzalez from Santiago Chile. He was in the mtc with me and so we know each other pretty well and it will be a fun experience. In our district we have 4 wards (because the Zone leaders are in our district too.) We have Guarus 1 &2 Turf and the Zone leaders ward. So It's a pretty big district. We have a ton of challenges and it's going to be super fun. I know that the Lord is really going to help and inspire us to be better and the overcome the great challenges that we have. It's been a super fun week and we had a harder time with conference. I saw Sunday morning, almost all of the session and a little less then half of sunday afternoon. SO I'm getting all the talks today so I can listen to them. I thought it was super cool that everyone talked in their native language. When Elder Godoy spoke I was looking down and thought " well this translation is really good, I can't hear any english" I looked up and realized that he was speaking portuguese! The feeling that I felt was such a huge joy and I can't imagine what the other brazilians felt. i know everyone was really excited and happy. It is a super cool experience and it would have been super cool to have been there hearing it in person. I really enjoyed the talks of Elder Bednar e President Monson. The other talks I didn't hear as much so I'll listen to them today. Maybe....I lost my memory card that I was using to listen to I'll try with the pendrive today. 

Anyways the last day in cobilandia was super fun, I don't think I've cried that much since I left home. BUt it was a super good experience and won't be the last time I see everyone. I'll definitely have to go back and visit. It was super hard to break the news to them. But Gilberto took it really well and said basically after a lot of hugs Well the next missionaries will have to baptize me and we'll send you pictures. :) Thats awesome, because I toltally broke down telling him we were leaving. Then we went and visited Josimar and Karina(who had been baptized the day before) and they both cried, and then asked me to say the prayer...... then we went to ana paula's house and she taught us! We had her teach us and she taught a lesson super powerful and spiritual and me and my companion were both amazed. And then we h ad to tell her we were leaving. Fun. BUt these are memories that we will never forget. Elder Barreto( My old companion) is training and he left the state too, but he's in Minas Gerais in the city Nunuque. So we are on opposite ends of the mission now but he'll have a ton of fun there and it will be super good.

ANyways these are the major updates and I'll stop now so I can send pictures :) But Its all good and sunny here in RIO and the Gospel is being preached with love and vigor. Read the Book Of Mormon! Hold tight to it and doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. I know this church is true, that we have a prophet on the earth today. He and 14 others spoke this last weekend and they spoke the words of God. They testified of Christ and are His disciples. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he restored the Church of God on earth. and I know that Christ lives. That HE is our savior and Loves each one of us and we should become as He IS. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I'm pretty sure these are the pictures from his last day in his last area, before transfers. Where the missionaries get to go around and say their good byes before they leave!

Monday, September 29, 2014

PICTURE DAY!!!!! September 29, 2014

This is the boy who wanted to be baptized yesterday

Elder Simonsen and his companion~ Both being transferred tomorrow 

They have a restaurante and this is sister tereza she loves the missionaries

Totally Blurry~ But we'll take it!!!!!

Monday September 29th, 2014

Well this week has been a little crazy but was a super good week. So first off we had a ward activity planned by the missionaries thursday night. And we don't have a ward mission leader so everything is a little bit more fun. We had been talking about/planning this activity since we got in the area and one of the members decided that we were going to do it this week. She told us we worked hard this week and decided to show the Testament video and decorate the cultural hall with lots of book of mormon pictures and restoration pictures and we had a table with all the material possible for missionaries to use with liahona's and lots of bibles and book of mormon. It was called the Grande Missionarie. Or great missionary. So we palnned everything all right, and then I get to the activity at 7, a little late because we had to go get everyone and when I get one is there...just the member. Not even a member of the bishopric. The member with the computer is in a meeting and we couldn't get the projector because I don't have keys for that. But after about 40 mins of running around getting everything and intterupting the meeting to get the computer (because he said he would give it to us and we used all resources possible before we intterupted the meeting) It all worked out great and had a majority of the ward there. The movie was super spiritual and everyone felt the spirit and we just got home a little late.....around 10. We had to take everyone home. All the investigators we had were young men and women and had promised their parents that we would take them home. So it was a fun night.
Then we had been trying to work with Ana Paula's Mom, trying to get her to go to church for about 9 weeks now....had a lesson super spiritual about the sacrament and how important it is to go to church. Was a super good lesson and the spirit was really strong and she came to church! But i don't know how she felt...we didn't get to talk to her after church because we had a baptism, and we spent the whole time running around trying to get that organized. But the baptism was really good and had a ton of members. Truely a huge blessing when the members participate and help in the work. The work moves so much better and the investigator and member feel soooo much better and the ward is strengthened. Then we ran to lunch (we got there about 2:30 when lunch is normally 12:30 on sunday....they live kinda far away. Then spent the rest of the day visiting recent converts and some investigators. Visited Yuri (our recent convert who has stopped going to church) and had a lesson super good about the word of wisdom and addiction recovery. I think just the fact that we went all the way to his house helped a ton. There was a new light that entered in him and his house and he lit up a little. Which was huge and good. Also the miracle that happened yesterday. We took an investigator thats 12 years old to church yesterday, the second time he's been and he went to the activity thursday. And while we were there he came up to me and said I want to call my mom....I was like alright, so his mom didnt answer and he turned to me and said Well I guess I can just tell you, I want to be baptized! I was like what?! And he wanted to be baptized that same day, with our other baptism....he was super firm in the decision. He wanted us to teach all the lessons to him right then and there and I told him we had to have him interviewed and  he looked at me and said go ahead. Ask me the questions right now. And I said laughing of course, I cant do your interview its other missionaries (Zone Leaders) and he wanted me to call them and have them be there right after sacrament.....he was fighting with me to be baptized that same day.... It was really a cool experience. He said that he was praying at the end of the deacons quorum and got his answer right as he was praying. So his baptism is marked for saturday before conference or maybe sunday in between the sessions. We still have to see when his mom can go. Also the other missionaries marked a date with their investigator for the 11th of this month. And she is super firm. So the miracle, there are many, that I want to point out is that these are clearly blessings from the Lord but as well we are in a area that didnt baptize. Basically for a long time they didn't baptize and eversince about 3 weeks ago we have been having a baptism every week. We baptized Josimar, they baptized a Roberta, we baptized Karina yesterday (daughter of Josimar) and have Gilberto marked for saturday/domingo and the have a baptism the next week. That doesnt include Ana Paula, and Yuri and Melissa that we also baptized. The Lord is truly opening up the way and the work is moving forward and if the ward stays animated they will have many more baptisms.

Alright now the bad news. I've been here since may. May, April, June, July, August, September....Transfers. We were transfered. ME and my companion. So we will be leaving the area tomorrow. To where only President and the Lord know. But I'm not going to lie, I was really hoping to stay more time. I really love this area and the people here. The members, investigators, recent converts. So many people so much love. I was also super excited for Conference with our recent converts. We still have to tell that we were transfered. IT's super hard because they are like your home away from home so it's like your leaving your family again. But I know that if we do whats right and we keep the commandments and keep our covenants that this time apart will only be a litle and that we will all meet again in the Celestial Kingdom. It's hard to leave because it really feels like home, but you have to remember we are on the Lords errand. We are here to do His will and to preach His Gospel and He knows where we need to go. I've been thinking about that song "i'll go where you want me to go" And it is really true and how it is. we go where the Lord wants us to go and we do His will, not our own. But I have no greater desire than to meet all these wonderful people here in Brazil and all those wonderful people back home in the Celestial Kingdom. I beleive there is no greater joy than that. First your family, then your friends. I'm sure going to cry a lot that day.  Anyways I've spent about 40 mins writing this email so I'll end it now and I want you all to know that I love you and that the Church is true and is the restored church of Jesus Christ  here on the earth and that if you havent read the Book of Mormon, pick it up! You don't know what your missing. And if you have read it and say that its not true, You have NOT read the Book of Mormon and you have NOT prayed and asked God if its true. I KNOW that it's true and I KNOW God lives and He loves us. If you say that God Doesnt love us or you, you need to look at the world around you and count your blessings. And you will see His hand in your life. I love you all and miss you tons. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
Elder Simonsen

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday September 22, 2014

SO this week has been a super exciting week but not too much has actually happened. I'll start by talking about the bible. So yest there is a lot of different interpretations of the bible and yeah you'll probably be different each time you share something with them but you don't need to think that you need to be the same. DOnt be afriad to be different, don't be afraid to say what you believe. Lots of people will reject you, but remember you serve one who was rejected of all. The bible is like a point    *  like that it has many different lines drawn through it because every one interprets the same scripture in a different way but with the book of mormon and the bible we have two points like these two periods    .        .
so what happens is that between these two points you can draw only one line (straight) that passes through these two points that confounds all false doctrine and leads us in a straight and narrow path to the lord like this . ______ . haha its the best i can do with a computer. So yes a majority of the time your view will be different but that doesnt mean your wrong. You also have the gift of the Holy Ghost that will teach you how to interpret the scriptures and open your mind so that you can apply the scripture in your life and as a missionary in the lives of others. 
So just say what you believe and the people have the choice to accept or to not to.  I passed through that sunday morning going to church, we were inviting people on the street to go to church and some people we trying to agrue a little with me and were saying somethings I didn't agree with. So yes I propbably said things a little too clear and yes I did in a way burn them a little but the point was that I was testify of truth and they chose to not accept it. But we have to declare the truth always. 
Anyways now I don't remember what i was going to write this week was good, we are eating a ton working hard and yeah it's getting a little hotter but it's all good. We had a confrence of 3 zones last week and it was super exciting. we recieved training in 3 languages....president Young and the assistants spoke portuguese for us, sister young spoke english for us. And her daughter who just finished serving in LA speaking spanish taught us in yes at the end of the day I had no clue what language I was speaking any more. I was thinking in spanish and potuguese and english and in reality I don't think any one of them is right. But for all of you all who think I know spanish, I don't I can understand spanish. ALL people who can speak portuguese can understand spanish if they pay really close attention.But it was a super good training, lots of rule changes, good rule changes, the spirit was really strong and the work is moving forward. This next week is the last week of the transfer, so we are a little sad becuase we know that one of us will be leaving, we've been here since may so its highly probable, and we are worried about our recent converts because 1) yuri has basically stopped doing everything and is turning away from the chruch 2) ana paula loves us and it will be super hard when we leave for her to adjust 3) Josimar will have just as hard a time adjusting without us here. You make such a huge difference in the lives of the people that you really don't want to leave them. They become a huge part of your life but you pray that you will see them again. Anyways I spent a ton of time writing this today, I had a hard time writing in english so I'll let you all go and hope that you all have an amazing week and remember that the Lord loves you and that you cherish the faith you have and always look for the tender mercies of the Lord in your day to day.
Love you all
Love Elder Simonsen
Did you get my cards for dads birthday and talons? Was the money still there?

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God. Ether 12:4

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday September 15, 2014

Alrighty so yeah sorry about today and we'll see if I can get this email out, I'm super tired and today has been a rough day but its all good.
So this weeks been pretty fun and tough at the same time. We have spent most of the week trying to find new investigators and walking a lot. We don't have any new investigators and hardly anyone is progressing. But we did have a baptism this last week. Her name is Josimar, she is 65 and her daughter is a member and one of her sons is a member thats not active. She has been super excited for her baptism for about 2 weeks now and its been diffifult sometimes because she has Parkinsons and so sometimes she cant do very much because if the pain, but she has an incredible testimony and was another person to whom the Spirit guided us to her. The baptism was also super good and funny. So we got to her house at about5:50 and she was walking up and down the street (she never leaves her house!!!!!!!) so we were shocked, she was just so excited and then when the car got there to give her a ride, we realized they didn't have space for us(the missionaries). So we decided to walk to the baptism. We had 10 mins to walk somewhere that normally takes about 30. So we got a call at about 6:30 from the other missionaries in the district asking where we were because everything was readu for the baptism but the missionaries were not there. I don't know how we did it but we got there in 20 mins. Then Ana Paula our recent convert showed up right when we did and she had been scheduled to give the talk but decided that she wasnt going to go to the baptism any more but showed up at the last minute. After talking to her for a while she consented to bear her testimony. She bore a SUPER powerful testimoney and quoted a scripture perfectly that she had memorized from seminary.................yeah we just had huge smiles on our faces the entire baptism. Then Josimar went to get baptized and she can't bend her knees and so when she came up out of the water she didn't put her legs back down and almost went right back in. We had asked one of the brothern who is a realitevely large and tall man to stand on the stairs and it was a huge miracle that he was there and able to help. When she was finally standing the first thing she said is that she drank some water but that she felt so amazing. She said she had to clean her insides too or something of the sort. She has made such a huge change in her countenance.
Also this week we had one of the zone leaders with us and we had marked a lesson with the Relief Society President's daughter and so the lesson fell but we said we would take her to go do addresses or something in the street(she is about 20 and we are trying to help her decide to serve a mission) but nothing was working so we figured well she liked teaching Ana Paula's mom last time , lets go there and let her share the message. So she shared Jacob 3:1 and then started to explain a little of the scripture and Luciana (Ana Paula's mom) started crying and explained everything for us. Everything that we hadnt understood before about her ex- husband and her boyfriend that was  killed 9 months back and I was just amazed. She opened up and the spirit was so strong. I just couldn't believe that it was happening right before my eyes and how grateful she was that we had come and shared the gospel with her and her children and that she wants they to have a way better life than she has had and it was truly a wonderful experience. So yes while this week has been difficult and really painfuly hard sometimes, there have been pearls of great worth and amazing experiences that have occured.
As for what I'm studying, I'm reading in Alma aroudn chapter 44 or 45. I'm trying to really draw back a focus on the book of mormon and the Jesus the Christ. I'm trying to work a lot more on myself and being a better person. We had the opportunity last night to have a devotional with all the stake with the mission president to hear the testimony of Pres. Young, Sister Young and their daughter Carla that just finished serving in LA Spanish speaking about a week or two ago. (I'm not sure if missionaries were supposed to be there but we took our two recent converts Yuri and Ana Paula because they want to serve missions too so I think we were alright..... ;) )and When his daughter was speaking it reminded me of something I had noticed in other missionaries that had come from the states and a few of the missionaries that I had already seen going home. They have a light, they have something different, they glow and they truly have developed christ like attributes. Here in brazil I feel that it doesnt happen any where near as often as it does in the states and so I've been pondering and thinking about what is different and how can I become like them. I resolved that it has to do with the book of Mormon and developing the christ like attributes and having a faith so profund in the Lord and His Atonement.

Anyways, I love you all and hope you all have a awesome week.
Love Elder Simonsen

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday September 8th, 2014

This week was an interesting week. Not too much happened, the weeks are starting to fly by too fast and time is really starting to run together. I cant imagine how it will be next year as I close the mission. SO first of all sounds like you all had a ton of fun at wild adventures. Looks like everyone is so much bigger and older and its a little weird to see how every one has changed so much. Courtney didn't go? Treasure every moment because you never know when you will have another again. Family is so important and it's something that I've realized this week. We have been working with a half member family, the dad isnt baptized but the mom and the daughter are and they aren't active in the church because they were discouraged and stopped going by themself. They have such a desire to do whats right and love having the missionaries over and the dad when he prays he prays with such sincerety its difficult to believe that he isnt a member. We met with some other families and i just got to thinking, Do they really understand what they are missing? Do they really understand the blessings of the temple? WHat they can gain or what they can lose? SO I've been thinking about the temple alot and the blessings that we have and the things that we can do.And trying to understand why they don't understand. Why they don't want the blessings of an eternal family, the peace and joy that comes from being obedient to the gospel. I don't have a definite answer but I understand that I really want those things and that my job as a missionary is to help people understand their potential but ultimately they make a decision. I've just been super grateful that I have that chance, that I have that opportunity.
This last week we had interviews with President and I got to talk to sister for quite a while. It was hard talking in english and translating for the brazilians but It was a really cool discusion and she is super spiritual. She reminds me of MIss Clause and she has a huge love for the missionaries. Her and President. They are completely different then President and Sister before. Sister was sharing with me the stories and lessons she had learned from her life, her mission and being prepared in the mtc as a Presidents wife and just a ton of really cool discusions.
Sorry I don't have much to write this week. JUst didn't have anything out of the ordinary. We have a baptism scheudled for saturday and if all goes well  the other missionaries in the district will have one too.
I'm trying to focus more on my character lately, on who I am, how I act and think and what I do and say. I'm trying to watch myself and get a lot closer to our Father in heaven. So I'm doing a lot of thinking and pondering and self anaylsis. But yesterday we had an opportunity to go to the hospital. The Relief society president's mom is there because she is suffereing a lot of pain. I really like that family a lot and we had been there saturday to talk with her (The President) and we had talked with her mom a little while we were there and then I guess two hours after we left she went to the hospital and I think she is still there today. BUt we went there yesterday and it was an interesting experience. The Spirit was really strong around her and she isnt a member but I think this experience might help her a lot. We participated in the blessing and then just talking to her a little brightening her day and helping her to laugh was an experience that I wont forget. I'm studying alot a talk by President Eyring about magnifying your calling and ministering with the Spirit and there is a realy good example of President KImball in his talk but its so important to walk with the Spirit and to minister rather than to lead or do. It's like a higher level. I'm not sure how to explain it but I had the opportunity to experience a little of it yesterday. ANyways we are all good and alive and well and the work is progressing forward and will ever do so.
Love you all and miss you tons
Elder Simonsen