Serving in the Brazil, Fortaleza East Mission

Brazil, Fortaleza East Mission

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bro, I was already Baptised in your church! (Week k#26)

Hello World!
This week was crazy but good! We passed Monday traveling and in Fortaleza, then Tuesday left for Pedregal, a neighborhood in the city of Aracati, Ceara. To give you an Idea about our área, if you have seen the movie Glory Road, the scene where the new basketball players are on the bus for Elpaso Texas for the first time, and start wondering where in the heck they are becuase theres litterally nothing but dust for Miles, we understood this very well when arriving here in Pedregal. It is a city next to the beach, but it is also a desert, and has very strong winds that kick up and push around a lot of dust.
When we arrived  a tour house here, we spent most of the Day on Tuesday we arrived Just cleaning to allow it to be livable. The first night here was rough, but after that, cleaning little by little every Day, we were able to make things a lot better. Its a huge house sufficient for 6 missionaries that only Elder Passos and I are living in right now.
The awesome thing here is we actually have Members!!! We have lunches every Day and the members here are incredible. They havent had missionaries here for a long time, so the branch has been doing missionary work alone for the last few months. The Branch president is a very straight forward guy, but very dedicated and excited to work! Its cool because in his mind he never stopped serving a mission, and is determined to have his branch grow!
One such story was a result of this.
We had a plan to go visit an investigator with him, but after trying to call him numerous times, we started back to the Presidents house. Before we arrived, President told us we were still going to teach a lesson, and called a young man over to his house. President was doing some type of identification card for him, and told him to sit down and listen to our message while he worked on the card. So we started to teach him about the gospel of Christ, and when president finished he came and sat with us. We taught for about 25 minutes, and the lesson went well enough so I finally I gave elder Passos the signal to invite him to be baptized. After elder Passos invited him, it was quiet for about a minute, and then he responded:
´´Bro, I already was baptized in your church man´´
President looked supprised and went to go check his records while I tried my best not to start laughing, and President came back and sure enough, he had been baptized back when he was still a kid.
Thats the interesting part of our area, we have over 200 people that were already baptized, but when we arrived they had an attendance of only 22-30 people in church on sundays, with a branch record of 42 people. God worked through us a lot last week and yesterday in church we had 44 people, and more people arrived after sacrament meeting.
It was a good week!
Hope you all are well,
Love, Elder Ferrell

Isidio and Cristina, the married couple Elder Passos and I Baptized


 Baptism in the river last week

 Our first transfer

Monday, September 11, 2017

6 months ja? (already) (Week #25)

Hello all!
My email will be very brief today because it is a VERY busy day.
I got transferred, but the interesting part is I got transferred WITH my companion. We had a barbeque last night in the house of our group leader in Quixeramobim, and I was expecting to stay because I am training. Well, I am still training elder Passos, and President has asked me to go and open a new area!! 
I dont know how to spell the name of the area we are going to, so I will have more details next week.
I hope you all are well, I am praying for all affected by crazy weather conditions there. Hope everyone is safe!
Love and miss you all,
Elder Ferrell

Monday, September 4, 2017

Always on the Run (Week #24)

Hello All!
This last week was a blur, and we are always busy as bees here. I do not have much time to write today but will do my best. There were 2 main things that happened this last week. Saturday, we spent most of the day preparing for an activity we were hosting. Since we are just a group here, Missionaries are responsible for any activities planned with members and investigators, so we decided to host a Movie night (my parents will not be at all suprised that this was my Idea).
The room we have church in has a projector and the leader of our group has a computer, so we hosted a ´´Cinema´´ Where we played the movie 17 Miracles and had food and soda. It was one of our best activities because we had members from Quixada come and visit to help, but it was funny because if you have ever seen 17 Miracles, it is a good movie but has many sad parts...well we got through the whole movie up until the final sad part, and the Internet quit on us (we only had 2 minutes more to go!) so that was kind of funny because we had a lot of investigators there and we had to explain to them that there really was a happy ending and we didnt just invite them all to watch a depressing film.
Then the other thing was church yesterday! We only had 19 people arrive but it was an incredibly spiritual fast and testimony meeting. My recent convert, Isidio, blessed the sacrament for the first time which was awesome, then an investigator of ours who is waiting to get married to be baptized, stood up and bore her testimony about how the gospel has changed her life. It was awesome! But the funny part that happened was that last week Elder Passos and I encountered a strange man on the street. Whenever we talk to people and they dont really listen to us, we always just invite them to church and move on. Well yesterday in church when it was really quiet, we had a man that we had done this to actually show up. But it was how he showed up that was funny. We were in Gospel Principles class and all a sudden we hear in a loud booming voice ´´Jesus Christ is returning´´.....
One of the other elders here said he was close to falling on the ground because he thought this was it and Christ actually just showed up haha. He was an interesting character, and kept sharing scriptures from the bible with me although it was a Jehovas Whitness bible and so it was very different from the bible we are all used to. But after church he asked a lot of questions about the book of mormon and wants us to visit him! 

Thats it for this week!
Love and miss you all!
Elder Ferrell

Monday, August 28, 2017

Another Week Gone (Week #23)

Hello World!
This last week passed in a flash! We had a little time to visit people last Tuesday, but then Tuesday night our bus left for Fortaleza at 5 PM. Wednesday morning I went with the Executive Secretary to some Federal Building so that I could receive a social security number and actually be able to use my health insurance card IF I need to. Then after this Elder Passos and I went out working in the afternoon in the área of the assistants. Thursday we had a zone conference which was awesome! Then the rest of the week was pretty normal!
Yesterday our recent convert, Isidio, recieved the Aaronic Priesthood which was awesome! He is so excited about it and He and his wife are growing so much as members already!
I do have one funny experience to share. On Thursday after the Zone conference we went back to the mission Office to wait a few hours until our bus left for Quixeramobim. We left the mission Office 2 hours early to make sure we had time, because I am used to taking a bus from the Travel terminal to the mission Office when we arrive in Fortaleza, but I have never taken the bus from the mission Office to the bus Travel terminal. So before we left I asked one of the secretaries which bus we needed to take. He told us bus number 50,51,52, or 53, and that the bus would finish at the travel terminal. So we left for the bus station, and finally were able to get on a bus numbered 50 (after many attemts being foiled by a stampeid of people as soon as the bus doors opened). We rode this bus for about 20 minutes, but nothing was looking familiar, so I called the secretary to make sure. He Said as long as we really took bus number 50, we Will end up at the terminal, but IF I wanted I could as someone on the bus were the route would finish to have more certanty , so thats what I did, and the person closest to me told me that the bus would finish at the Terminal, so I figured we were Just going a different way. Well, everything I had thought at this point was actually correct, except for one fatal flaw.
Whenever we take the bus FROM the Terminal TO the mission Office, we arrive coming from a certain direction. Silly me thought that to go from the Mission Office TO the Terminal, we needed to catch a bus going in the opposite direction....well after an hour and a half bus ride, our bus definitly finished at the bus terminal, Just the wrong one. We were supposed to catch the bus going the same direction as when arriving to the mission Office because it Just goes in a circle. So Elder Passos and I figured out which bus went to the correct terminal, and after a 3 hour detour in down town fortaleza we finally arrived only an hour after our for Quixeramobim had already left. But everthing worked our, we changed our tickets to a later bus.
And thats it for the adventures here in Ceará Brasil! Tune in next week for more exciting action!
Love and miss you all,
Elder Ferrell

Monday, August 21, 2017

Hello My good People (Week #22)

This week was a week of miracles!
Saturday, 2 of our investigators, an awesome married couple we have been working with for more than a month, got baptized and yesterday were confirmed. Our church meeting was a little hecktic, but they still loved it and I see them more and more happy each time we visit. The wife, Cristina, Had a hard time quitting coffee, so we woke up at 5:30 am every day for a week to help her stop, but now she doesnt even want it! It is truly incredible!
Also on Saturday. We received a reference from a member who visited last sunday from Sao Paulo for Brasilian fathers day. He told us his dad was already a member and lived here in Quixeramobim, just not in the city in the countryside. To give you an idea about the countryside here in brasil, or at least in Ceará, the streets dont have names and the houses dont have numbers. So when we went to search for this member on Saturday not knowing where he lived, I was nervous, but something told me we HAD to go and that everything would work out. We started walking to the bus station to catch a bus going that way, and ended up having a friend of ours pass by with his car and give us a ride. This was the first mini miracle because we arived at the bus station just as the last bus for the day was leaving for that area. We managed to get seats on the bus, and after a 25 minute bus ride, we got off the bus in an area that didnt have a house in sight! We decided to walk back the way we came, and through talking to many people ended up discovering his house, and meeting with him. This was incredible. He started crying as he shared he has lived there for 20 years, and been praying every day that the church would arrive in Quixeramobim. We talked with him for a while, and are now helping him return to be a completely active member in the church, and he wants to go through the temple! The last part of this story is we arrived at his house at 5 PM, and had a Baptism the same night sceduled for 7:30. We did not have a way to get back to Quixeramobim, and it was more or less a 3 hour walk if we had to walk. But this member called a friend who gave us a ride to arrive for our baptism exactly on time.
This is just a testament to me. Jesus Cristo will always send someone for you. He will always leave the 99 for the 1. He loves us all, and through us, we saw him realize a miracle in this mans life.
I love you all, and hope your weeks were good!
Love, Elder Ferrell

Monday, August 14, 2017

Happy Birthday Quixeramobim! (Week #21)

Hello world! 
It was another fine week here baking in the sun! But also very busy. Our mission has a new goal of fulfilling 10 contacts every single day. While this is a lot more difficult in the small city of quixeramobim, Elder Passos and I have been doing our best, and we were blessed with more people than we had time to teach for it last week! 
Nothing particularly interesting happened other than on Wednesday night, the city had a ceremony for all of the courses they sponsored, and my english class was one of them. They all sang Happy by Pharrell Williams, and as I was exiting the stage you just know I tripped in front of all those people!
I do have a message for you all this week. As I am starting to understand a lot more Portugues, it is starting to become easier to focus on learning more life and spirtual lessons throughout the week.

Today I want to share with you a thought that I have been pondering after hearing it from Janhailson, the leader of our church group here, this last week. 
It is very similar to President Uchdorfs talk on not using fear to motive, and i encourage you all to review that talk when you have time. But basically, as mankind we have two ways of teaching: through love, or through pain. Teaching through pain, or through pressure, manipulation, any form of teaching that trys to translate our will onto others with force, is a very powerfull teacher. But as these things are not of God, they will teach to fear, teach to loath, and teach to hate. These teaching most of the time can be almost impossible to remove. But if we focus on teaching with love, with patience, we may not see a chance as rapidly as with the alternative, but you will teach with more power than you thought possible. 
This is not my promise, but the Promise of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
Until Next week! Love you all
Elder Ferrell

Monday, August 7, 2017

I´m a Dad? (Its a mission term) (Week #20)

Hello Everyone!
This last week was a mix of Incredible and Sad. Tuesday, about an hour before my bus left for Fortaleza, we found out that my recent convert whom I had just baptized on Sunday was arrested. There is still confusion as to whether he actually did anything wrong, but because he was arrested he was fired from his job, and has not been home for us to speak to him all week, and personally I feel like he really does not want to speak to us. Soo that was definitely not the most awesome thing in the world, BUT:
On Wednesday a met my new companion! His name is Elder Passos from Rio de Ganeiro, and he is awesome! On a mission, they call a missionary you train your ´´son´´ and your trainer is your ´´father´´ of the mission, which is partially a joke but also partially a truth because when new missionaries arrive they are very lost with so much to learn and so much to adjust to. So elder Passos is my first son here in Brazil! We did training on Wednesday and returned here to Quixeramobim on Thursday.
The week itself was pretty normal except for the fact that God definitely has blessed us with miracles. The first miracle was with my Portuguese! I wasn’t at all nervous to train a new missionary, but I was a bit nervous about communication in general. But from the moment they announced Elder Passos as my companion I have been able to understand almost everything in Portugues, and speak a lot more as well. This is just a confirmation to me that when God calls you to the work, if you put your faith in him he will always bless you with what you need to succeed.
Then yesterday we closed a baptism for a married couple we have been working with for over a month. They are awesome, and it was incredible because yesterday the Husband stood up and bore his testimony in Fast and Testimony meeting! That was truely special.
I hope everyone there has had an incredible week, and that this coming week will be just as good!
I love and miss you all,
Elder Ferrell