Serving in the Brazil, Fortaleza East Mission

Brazil, Fortaleza East Mission

Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 4!

Hello Meu Amigos! (My Friends)

With week 4 behind me now here in the MTC, I only have two weeks left before I'm out in the real world! It doesn't seem like its real at this point!

The last week went by pretty quickly, and fairly uneventfully! Everyone in the new zone is basically best friends by now, we have a lot of fun! My companion is awesome, which just makes everything so much better. All the other guys in the residence are just as cool though! There is one elder, Elder Smith, who is just super chill and every time you look at him he is either doing push ups, sit ups, or pull ups. Its low key impressive. 

Classes have been going good as always. Since I'm by myself I'm progressing fast, and so the teachers are focusing a lot more on learning the doctorine and coming up with new ways to challenge me which is really cool. To put it in perspective, most groups have 2 "investigators" (teachers who act) at a time that they teach. Well I have 4 "investigators" and one "less active" member that I teach every day so its just a lot of fun! Its really strange because while a lot of the teachers are Seniors at BYU, a lot are also freshman who are my age and just got back from their missions a few months ago. This is honestly cool because it makes all of our professors a lot more relatable at least to me. Whenever I'm bored and I don't have a teacher I usually just go find a professor to hang out with and practice Portuguese. 

So in the MTC every Sunday night we watch church videos after devotional. Last night we decided to go to see Meet the Mormons 2. It was the greatest, Elder Smith and I laughed so much we cried! The last part of it was all about this family group in japan that are famous pop stars, and at first we were all stoked because we got to hear some music other than Mormon Tabernacle Choir for a change, but then it got so much better. The group was called Bless4, and they are literally a mix of N'Sync, the Jackson 5, and Backstreet Boys, with a little bit of Japanese culture thrown into it! It was an incredible story to see how they decided to put their beliefs ahead of their musical ambitions, but it was so fun to watch the clips of their music videos and stage performances. Definitely quality entertainment.

There were two main spiritual high points from this last week: 
1) A quote from Meet the Mormons 2: "It is easy for us to say 'That is just who I am, it isn't going to change' but Jesus underwent his experiences so that he could help us through the changes we need to make. Who you are is not who you could become."

2) If you have not yet seen the Mormon message where Elder Jeffery R Holland bears his testimony on the Book of Mormon, I make that my challenge to everyone to go watch it. It is one of the most powerful and logical testaments I have yet seen. It particularly spoke to me because I myself am a very logical person. I like to understand things, and when Elder Holland spoke about how no human being on this earth would have endured the torture and persecution that Joseph and Hyrum Smith endured, unless they had such a firm knowledge of its truth that they would have seriously feared for retrobution from God if they denied what they knew. 

Other than that nothing particularly special happened this last week. I have attached a couple pictures to this email from our temple walk yesterday. 

I hope everyone has a truly inspirational week! I appreciate hearing from all of you, and please forgive me if it takes me a week or two to respond to your emails!

I love and miss you all!

Elder Ferrell

1) Elder Smith and I in Deep Contemplation
2) Myself in Deep contemplation
3) All the Elders in the New Zone
4) Waving Hi to our Moms
5) Smoldering Group Shot
6) Me with the Elder who is from East Fortaleza Brazil and was here learning English.​​
7) Solo Picture
8) Elder Tolento and I

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week Three Down, Halfway through the MTC!

Hello All!

So It was another week in the daily grind! First off I must apologize for not having pictures this week, I kept forgetting to charge my camera, but I charged it today so I will have more pictures next week!

Anyways, HAPPY EASTER (One Day Late). Easter in the MTC felt like....well it felt like a day in the MTC, but we did have some cool things happen so I will tell you about those later. 

First off, the night alone: Tuesday Morning everybody else from my zone left to their respective missions so I was truly alone. It wasn't too bad, I went around with some elders and sisters that are in the same classroom building as I am, and then I slept in a room with the Elders heading for Japan, and I thought that was going to suck but it didn't. I met this one elder, Elder Jung, who is probably the coolest human being I have ever met! He is Korean, but from New Zealand, so he speaks English with an awesome accent. He is the chillest though! He is 24 years old and already has his masters degree in accounting, and decided he needed to drop everything and serve a mission so there he was! It was a really cool story! And then he told me all about New Zealand and I have decided I need to live there someday! He is an incredible singer, and all the way around just a really on point human being, so sleeping with the Japan elders that night was Rad!

Then Wednesday came and my new zone of missionaries arrived! They are all awesome! My new companion, Elder Talento, is great! He is basically the human form of Aing from the Avatar the Last Air Bender TV show, he just has so much positive energy it is incredible! (and it was a little exhausting at first but we got on the same page after a day or so so it just awesome now). Everyone else in the zone is super cool as well and we are all getting along really well! Being zone leader isn't too hard, but it is just a little taxing because I'm always worrying about how everyone is doing and what more I can do to help them! They all had a bit of a rough week with the language but they're starting to settle into it so this week is going to be awesome!

Now to Easter Sunday. I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting on Sunday because I was the only missionary in the zone who wasn't brand new, and the talk had to be in Portuguese! My talk went really well! I'm going to talk about it later on in this email, but it was an awesome experience. After sacrament meeting we had Elder Dallan H Oaks speak in a special Easter Devotional (Elder Jung sang an INCREDIBLE special musical number at his request. The whole time I was sitting there thinking "I know him!") It was excellent! Very doctrine heavy, but still awesome! My favorite part from his talk was when he said that temples are a testimony in and of themselves of our belief and Faith in there being something more after this life. The rest of the day went as a normal Sunday usually goes, but we had an incredible devotional last night about how having questions about the gospel make us seekers, not doubters, and that questions are good and build faith.

Then after the awesome devotional, we went and watched a video (we do a lot of sitting in the mtc) of an incredible devotional with Elder David A Bednar last Christmas called "The Character of Christ". It was hands down the best talk I have ever seen a general authority give, and that is saying a LOT! I do not think they publish MTC devotionals like conference talks, but if they do, I would definatly encourage everyone to read it!

Finally, over the last week my testimony about the gift of tongues grew soo much! The language is still a challenge but I can see improvement. In the scriptures, Moroni teaches us about the gifts we can receive through the spirit, and in those gifts he specifically separates two of them: 
1) Gift of enterpratation of tongues
2) Gift of languages
I find it so interesting how Moroni knew to make these two separate gifts, even though they could be mistaken for the same thing at times. When I first got to the MTC, I was incredibly blessed with the gift of enterpratation of tongues, because almost every class period, even though I had no idea how to speak Portuguese, I could understand almost all of what the teachers were saying. Now I feel I have definitly been blessed with the gift of languages. Taking my talk on Sunday in sacrament meeting as an example, I honestly cannot tell you what I said, even in English, because I don't know. I have noticed it in the last week of teaching here as well, that when I go to testify of Christ, the spirit takes control, and guides me to say exactly  what needs to be said!

I know Jesus Christ lives. He is our savior. Jesus Christ came to this earth to teach, and to show us how much he loves us. He came to this Earth and suffered for us, and not only to give us the wonderful gift of repentance. Jesus Christ descended below all things so that he could personally understand EXACTLY what you are going through. He knows you, he knows your thoughts, and your feelings. Because of what he sacrificed, Jesus Christ knows exactly how to help you. What greater gift in this world could there possibly be than the ability to be forgiven by God, and supported by his son. I want to tell you all that I know that there is no greater gift. 

I love you all and I hope everyone is doing simply excellent! I have tried to make sure I respond to all emails I receive, so if you haven't got a response from me, let me know!

Have a wonderful week!


Elder Ferrell

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week #2

Hello All!

This last week seemed to fly by and has a bit of a bitter ending! 

First of all the longer I'm here the more I love my teachers! As a solo elder, I have three teachers officially assigned to teach me, so it is always at least a one on one experience, but since there are 21 Portuguese teachers and no where near that many students (especially since I'm literally the ONLY student until Wednesday) my classes are usually me and anywhere from 2-5 teachers at a time haha. This is really good for me because supposedly I'm learning way faster than normal (at least thats what they tell me!). My main teachers though, Brother Muchado and Sister Jolly are amazing and I can tell they truly care for me! 
The rest of the week passed pretty normally, classes all day every day, then church on Sunday and here we are! In church I was officially  called as the new zone leader, and this week I will be taking Wednesday to greet and orientate the new missionaries! 

​​​​As far as fun is concerned, when you put 6 elders in each room and keep them in class all day, in the evenings they can get pretty inventive as to how to unwind. This last week we had two prime examples. 
First: A couple nights ago we had a missionary rave in one of the residents. An elder in my zone going to Mosenbique, elder Stevens, blew up some colored balloon's, we turned out all the lights, and he strobed his flashlight into the balloons while we did a club mix mash up of Popcorn Popping on the Apricot tree. I'll try to attach the video but I'm not sure if it will send.
Second: Last night was our last night together as a zone so we decided to have a Riff Off (as in the sing off from Pitch Perfect) So we sang it up and it was pretty rad until someone decided to sing "I will always love you" and everyone joined in and it was too loud so the fuzz shut us down (Fuzz as in the Elder Upstairs who thought we were breaking the rules for some reason)

There were many other fun experiences, especially with my companion Elder Flitton, we have a lot of fun together!

Then came the less fun. Today my whole zone left for their respective missions and that was super hard! Its weird because again, even though its only been close to two weeks, It feels like I knew everyone soo much! I am really going to miss them a lot! But my hope is that this new group of missionaries are just as awesome as the last!

I want to close this weeks email by sharing with you all my testimony that I know for a fact God answers our prayers. Its not always in the way you would expect, and it isn't always how we want, but there is always an answer! He listens to each and every one of us, no matter who we are. Jesus Christ is our true savior. He has descended below everything of the earth to give us each a chance at eternal happiness. I have a strong belief in this gospel as it should be: Inviting others to find joy in Christ. I have a strong belief in God's love for all children. The atonement is real, and it is something to rejoice in! God never wants us to feel anything less than his divine love. 
If you get a chance to, please go read President Jeffery R Hollands talk from the most recent general conference. There is room for EVERYONE in gods choir.

I love you all and look forward to updating you again next week!

Elder Ferrell

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ola, Tudo Bem! Week #1

Hello Everyone!

Five days in the MTC and it already feels like I've been here a month. I am currently the only missionary in the whole MTC who is going to Brazil. I am a solo missionary which means since I came in as the only person learning Portuguese last week, I have class alone. This is actually pretty cool because its literally a one on one or sometimes even two on one teaching session each time so I'm picking the language up a lot faster than usual apparently. I have two teachers, Irmõ Muchado and Sister Y (I haven't been able to see her name tag yet so its just Sister Y for now). They're both soo awesome and are so kind and loving that it forces me to study extra hard because I feel like I'd be a failure as a human being if let them down. My companion is Elder Flitton from Laguna Beach California. He's pretty chill and we have a lot of fun. Basically as a Solo Elder, I'm in class alone, and I usually am supposed to study alone, even though I often just go study with the other class during personal time because being alone like that all day can get old fast. Everyone else in my zone is going to either Africa or Portugal, so were all Portuguese speaking, but they all speak it a little differently than Brazilian Portuguese. Everyone in the Zone except for me is leaving next Monday though because they have already been here for 5 weeks, so after they leave I will be all by myself for real until the following Wednesday when were supposed to get a lot of new Brazil visa waiters. At that point the branch president said I'll be the new zone leader and expected to greet everyone with him so that will be interesting, and IDK what I'm gonna do from Monday to Wednesday as far as a companion for meals and sleeping arrangements but I'll just go with the flow!
Conference was awesome! It got really old just sitting inside all day, but looking past that, I can honestly say I've never been that interested in conference, or gotten so much out of it. It was very clear that all the talks were truly inspirations from heavenly father. Last night after the second session of GC we had a devotional where the BYU Occapella group, Vocal Point, came and did a program which was awesome! And then after that we went and watched the Joseph Smith movie, so all in all a pretty spiritual day, weekend, and week all together.
Other things: Food at the MTC is terrible and if they didn't have a salad bar for every meal I would have died of starvation by now. 
I LIVE for gym time, its basically the only thing that gets me through the day.
There are a couple of people here from Brazil serving State side and talking to them is awesome! There is one elder who is actually from East Fortaleza and served in the mission office of my mission while waiting for a Visa so that's pretty cool! Other than that there is not much to report, so I will send you more positively spiritual and otherwise uneventful adventures soon! 
Toon in Next week!
That's all Folks!

Love and miss you all,
Elder Ferrell​​