Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understand

Hello People Who Know My First Name,

Its Elder Healy´s super exciting weekly report! I hoped your as pumped as I am! This week, as every other to date, was jam packed with things to learn and even more things to do. This letter is gonna be a bit short because the picture dowload took longer than I thought. I am doing great, settling down, and trying my best. We has two baptisms this last weekend. It was really touching. We were worried that one of them was going to fall through because the girl had a fight with her Dad and said she did not want to baptized in the interview, but she prayed that night and felt that it was the right thing for her so we ended up having to inverview her only thirty minutes before the baptism!

One thing I am gettign a little tired of is being bible bashed in another language because when people get excited they talk fast and it is a little hard to keep up. So I usually end up just testifying that I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that we believe that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are both scripture. Then I invite them to learn for them selves by reading, pondering, and praying. I have learned that I am not here to convince anyone, but to let the spirit testify of our messages truthfulness. So when a Jehovah Witness pulls some Bible Kung Fu on me, I just have to reply that we need to have faith and try for ourselves. I always hope that their hearts will be softened, but I know they have agency and can decide for themselves.

I just sat here for about 30 min trying to reopen my email. Sorry...

An investigator loaned me a violin to practice today because I said I was interested in relearning. I am really terrible, but its fun. I dont have time to answer all your questions this week, so I will try to next week. Thank you so much for all the cards and notes you have sent me! They mean so much to me and I save everyone.

I will see you later. Ill make up for this next week.

Come on really,
Elder Healy

Missionary Life (Pictures from when I was in the Brazil MTC)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gotta Step Up to the Plate

Como Vai?

It’s that time of the week again. These last seven days were especially good and I am starting to get into the swing of things. Our baptisms that were originally scheduled for last Sunday were moved up to this Sunday because they wanted their family and friends to come. There´s nothing we could really do about that. The two sisters grew up with one foot in the church and one foot in the world because their Dad was active while their mom was Catholic. The mother and father split up several years ago and the dad did not want the girls to get baptized without the mother´s approval, and I am not sure we could anyways. But the mom miraculously changed her mind so we have been able to teach them all the lessons. It was not too hard considering that they had already been attending church on and off for five years. I am really looking forward to this baptism as I feel more confident with the language and understand more when people are talking around me. Sometimes people will just go on a rant or a long speech and I will literally understand none of it. But I keep trying and I keep getting better.
On Monday this week, I think we had the best day of work we have ever had. We now have twelve more marked for baptism and have three super elect families. One sixteen year old we met on the bus asked us during the lesson ´´So how do I prepare to be baptized on the 30th?´´ I mean wow! I felt the spirit so strongly with that family. His dad studied religion for six months in Jerusalem and accepted everything we said without question. I am so excited to work with them again! Another person literally asked us if we could visit him without our prompting. Contacting just got a lot easier. He wasn´t there at the time we scheduled though which made me kind of sad. But we have his phone number so we will call him later this week. People can understand me now which is two thumbs up, and I keep getting encouragement and congratulations from members and missionaries alike. I am only afraid that this praise might go to my head and slow my progress. ´´Pride is a personal commitment between excellence and mediocrity.´´ I know I have so much more to learn and will never know all I would like. The important thing is not to only remember where you have come from, but focus on where you want to go. I have truly felt the blessings of obedience and diligence as I try harder each week and realize I can still do more.
This week was also pretty fun too. We ate lunch with a member who kept saying how ´´beautiful´´ I was. It would have been really uncomfortable if I had understood what she had been saying in the moment. My companion said that she was wondering if it would be acceptable for a light and dark to be together. HaHa awkward. Also, people really like my eyes here and my street name is German.
My companion starts a diet every day and then fails by going to an All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet and says the ´´Diet Starts Tomorrow! ´´
(He´s looking over my shoulder) My companion is the most awesomist man in the whole world.
We are trying to get the Pattern of Excellence this week, but only two companionships have gotten it since the qualifications have become more difficult. But I know we can do it if we just put out trust in the Lord, and try our absolute best.
We just had a multi-zone conference this last week and all the new missionaries and all the missionaries leaving were asked to bear their testimonies. I do not think it would be possible not to feel the spirit in that room. The more senior missionaries went first who were all trainers or leaders. It was wonderful to hear their stories of growth and their inspiring words to take advantage of every minute because the minutes are too few. And then the new Brazilian missionaries went. Most of them had not been members of the church long so it was truly touching to hear about some of their conversions and decisions to serve a mission after only having been a member for as few as two years. One larger Elder started crying as he talked about how thankful he was for the church and for his trainer. I only hope that I can be that good of an example for another missionary someday. And then it was my turn. All throughout the other missionaries testimonies I was anxiously looking at my verb card and asking about vocab from my roommates because I felt so unprepared to get across the complex ideas that I wanted to. Last week we had been focusing on teaching the first lesson with the spirit and as simply as possible so that I might be understood with my rudimentary skills and so that the more simple investigators might understand. And so that is what I tried to do. I would like to bear my testimony to all those who are reading this that I know the Church is true. I know it. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that through its passages a person can feel more peace and have more happiness than through any other means. I know that I am doing the most important thing I will ever do in my entire life . I am helping people down the path to know what I have come to. I know that each and every one of us is loved and cared about by more people than we can begin to count. I know that this life can be tough at times, but I also know that it will never be tough, never more than we can handle despite what we may think. And I want you all to know how thankful I am for each and every one of you and all of your kind words, your encouragement, and your prayers. I hope your weeks are wonderful and that trials are brief.
And Morgan, Elder Bybee and Elder Iverson would be happy to write you. They want more photos ^.^ (You´re taller than Elder Bybee but he has a perfectly sculpted masterpiece that some people call a body, but I call it a window to heaven. (Double parenthesis, he looks like Buddha) :P) Elder Iverson cut out the British guy´s face and put on his. Just kidding... He used to model. He also runs an eighteen for the 5k. I know right? Hug Mom and Dad for me ok?
Maddie, don´t worry. We are making the cake for movie day!
Nate, stay great.
And Tyler, play some games for the both of us alright?

Come on really,
Elder Healy

I don´t really know what you guys want to hear about so I just write what I feel and what I remember. Please, please, please ask me if you have any burning question or if anything I wrote is unclear. I sometimes kind of feel like I am writing in journal so please add some human interaction to this. One-way is no fun. Also, if you are sending something use US Postal service snail mail and put Jesus or Mary stickers on it and send it to my mission home. If you ever send anything valuable, I heard that it has a high probability of getting stolen so I have been advised that you just write on the box like candy, cereal, and like socks and then you hide whatever it is in a box of Cap´n Crunch. Also, if you do mark things down as like $250 for bed sheets, I think I have to pay about a 60% import tax so be careful. And thank you so much for the birthday cards, the sweet notes, and the candy and presents! My roommates were really happy to hear from you :) Love you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My First Week, A Sneak Peak

I am officially through my first week in the field, and what a week it was. I performed my first baptism, I got my first blister, I attended my first BBQ, I had my first Birthday, I said my first invitation, I received my first cake, and I had my first joke played on me. Just a bunch of first’s.

My mom asked the following questions that I will respond to at this time. d-(O.O)z (That’s supposed to be a guy giving a thumbs up).
How are your sweets?
Wonderful, the other Elders and I enjoyed them so much. Thanks for getting my favorites!
Everything new and different?
Yep, pretty much everything is different. Milk here, for example, has preservatives which means they store it at room temperature in a paper carton. Cookies come in tubes and are delicious as expected. If you don’t eat all your food at an All-You-Can-Eat, you might end up paying extra. All the stores close by about 8pm because everyone retires to their houses. The members are really nice! One of them made me cake for my birthday, and I have some of the best meals ever here. They say that they want only the best for missionaries! I love it here.
A lot of fruit, meat, rice, beans, salad, and Coca-Cola which is good with me.
Housing..Cold? Hot?
Just right.
Best shower ever, but the bathroom always smells like an outhouse. Nothings perfect :)
Is there toilet paper?
Yes, but you take sheets individually like a tissue or napkin.
Do you live alone or with a family?
We live in a big house with two other missionaries. We have a drier and a clothes line, one bathroom, and four couches for some reason.
Tracting? In a good area? Are you opening a new area?
Yes, I am opening an area. I baptized my first person on Sunday. He had been having some doubts that we helped him resolve. I was really nervous leading up to the baptism, but I prayed right before going into the font and just felt a calm come over me. I spoke slowly and clearly and then performed the ordinance. Afterwards, the members said it was the most beautiful baptism they had ever seen. I heard ´´Not a splash´´ several times. My companion, our investigator, and I felt so happy. It was wonderful. It was only then that I realized I had remembered dry garments, but no towel. Drip drying was fun.
Companion...Is he hard working? Nice? Fun?
My companion is wonderful. He always pushes me to improve. He encourages me to speak in Portuguese and calls me out when I am doing something wrong. He really cares about me and the members. On my birthday, all of the Elders in the house woke me up screaming. I don’t remember it at all, but apparently they have video so it must be true.

If you guys have specific questions in the future, I think you can just shoot my parents in an email, and I’d be happy to respond. On a side note, the post office went on strike again, so I have been receiving packages, but not letters. If you sent me a letter, I am sorry I haven’t responded, but please forgive me. I only visit headquarters about once a week so I will try to respond to you as best I can.

I now realize that I have a lot more to learn before I become the missionary I want to be, whether it is improving my vocab, teaching skills, or personality, its going to take a while. As I have tried to more exactly follow the schedules and the rules, I have really seen the blessing. I learn more, I feel better, and I work harder.

I know this letter is kind of scattered, I’m sorry. I just wanted to give you a quick medical update. I now officially have four blisters, a rash, and a removed wart. But besides that I am feeling great. Just a little moleskin, athletic tape, and some ointment and I am good to go.

So we were contacting in the park this week, and this family actually called us over to talk. They wanted to learn and have us over for lunch and they seemed the elect of the elect. But when we went to the house, and called the number, it was someone totally different. We got pranked by some random stranger! But we ended up teaching the actual family that lived there and we will probably return for a second visit. The work works in mysterious ways.

The one thing I have really struggled with more than anything else this week is patience. I found myself getting frustrated when appointments and lunches fell through and when no contacts wanted to hear us. I did not like waiting for the bus or having to walk two miles to get to someone’s house. Investigators fear and failure to do what we asked made me upset just made me discouraged. But my companion talked to me about how one of his friends in the mission was always happy regardless of what happened. I have been thinking about that a lot recently. I have come to the realization that as we struggle through hard times and bear our afflictions with patience, we will be blessed for it. People have the ability to choose, and as long as I am doing my part, I should not let the choices of others bring me down. I need to try and be sad when they reject the gospel, but never let any incident take away my desire to keep going. You just have to keep your individual self worth separate from what you are doing. Just because something doesn’t go right, doesn’t mean you aren’t doing right. Bad things can happen to good people, but as long as we take these trials and try and learn and grow from them, they won’t get us down but make us stronger.

A famous author (whose name currently eludes me and whose quote I am currently going to butcher) once said that his favorite times of his life were during his trials because he could remember them the best and it was during them that he grew. We must always try new things and although they might be hard, it is when we are reaching and doing our best that we grow. I hope you guys have a great week and try not to get to down on yourselves when things don’t go your way.

Come on really,
Elder Healy

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'm in the Campo, It's Intense!

Hello People Who Are Allowed to Chew Gum in Public,

I mean if you can’t make fun of yourself, who can you make fun of? I am finally in the Mission Field!!! So much happened last week I don’t even know where to begin. OK, maybe I do. I first and foremost wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading this weekly check in. I know I am not the most engaging writer, but I do what I can. Second, I want to thank everyone who has sent me letters or packages so far. Those words and gifts truly brighten my day and give me the strength to give it my all. I am trying to respond to everyone who writes me, and I am really sorry if I somehow skip over you. I love all of you!
The last week at the MTC seemed to really fly by. On Monday, we went to pass out Books of Mormon. It’s was great, except we had to travel 30 min by bus and another 30 by foot to get to the more Japanese part of Sao Paolo because that is where the sisters were going to serve. So we had only 30 minutes to give out seven books. We gave out two on the bus, one on the way there and one on the way back, and the other five about six minutes apart. After this, everyone in my district wrote each other a letter to be read on ´´Hump Day´´ about what we think they will be like and to encourage them. I really enjoyed writing to my future self and to my other district members as well. It was like expecting to accomplish goals I had not even set yet. One of my good friends at the MTC gave me a picture of two cats, one with his paw over the other and explained that people can be friends, even over great distances. In the words of the Bard, ´´We don’t have to change friends if we realize that friends change.´´ I want to grow closer to all of you that are reading this even though we are probably farther apart than we have ever been. Both you and I will change over these next two years, and I can only hope that it is always for the better and that we understand and love each other more because of it.
The departure day was really lonely. I had to say goodbye to my two companions as we went to different missions. I also had to say goodbye to the Japanese sisters which was really sad and a little awkward because you can only give hand hugs. Then I was all by myself in the cafeteria because I was the last to leave. Feeling forgotten but excited, I slowly packed in my room for two hours to the sounds of Beethoven. It was relaxing really relaxing and just took my mind off things. Then it was time to go. I slept the whole ride :). The Mission President is really legal. (Legal means cool).He thinks that I speak well and we seem to get along.
We went to the Mission Office and just kind of sat around until our companions showed up. I think I got the best one. He´s from Utah and only has three months left on his mission so I will be his last trainee. He has already been a District Leader, Zone Leader, and Assistant to the President. We already hit it off. We both like wrestling so P-Day should be fun. He is also is a thespian, but he didn´t know it. (He does musical productions and theatre). We rode together on the bus for an hour and a half and we opened a new area. The records are kind of scattered, and our house is big but old so we should have some work to do. One of the counselors in the ward picked us up and said he had a non-member friend he wanted us to meet. We all started walking to the Church and he asked us why all of our first names were `Elder.´ I am still a little linguistically challenged so my companion answered him. When we arrived at the church we went into the bishop´s office to wait for him. My companion, Elder Bybee, saw a picture on the desk, and it was the non-member! The bishop had just been messing with us the whole time. We then got pizza to welcome us to the area. He should be fun to work with.
Today, we had lunch at a member´s house. The member had 23 cats and 3 dogs however, and my allergies were acting up. It was an interesting first lunch, but good none the less. The brother had been on TV for being able to memorize numbers and had written two books about it. What a pro! The only thing I would change was the cat hair I pulled out of my mouth from breathing a couple times, but other than that it was really fun and the food was good.
In my personal study today I read in D and C 88 verse 67. It talks about as we keep our eye single to god we will be filled with light and strength. This is now one of my new favorite scriptures. As we focus on the work, our countenance will change and we will become a means to do good. I hope you all have a great week and just try to do a little good in the world. Thank you for reading this week’s edition of the ´Life and Times of Elder Healy´
Come on really,
Elder Healy

Here is a video of me getting my first Companion