Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Good Morning Mom and Dad, and Joseph and Alayna and Desmond, Abby, Jenny, and everybody…. Grandma and Grandpa.   

I have some announcements that I think are going to save us a little bit of money.   The First Presidency, sent my mission president a letter, I think all the mission presidents a letter saying that, now, missionaries can email whomever they want!  And, so now I can email whomever I want, that’s outside of my mission.  I can’t email anyone inside of my mission.  So, long story short, you can totally stop paying for mission ties.   And, Grandma and Grandpa, you can tell them , you can start sending my emails again, because the prophet said so.  That will be really good, cause I will be able to get their email and stuff.  So, you can just cancel missionties.  Tell them that, and I think they will be happy.   Grandma will be happy.   And, I will be excited to hear from then again.  Also, that means if there is anyone you know, that would like to shoot me an email, you can tell them too! 

Another announcement….. oh yeah, I talked to my mission president this week.   And, I asked him about you guys coming to pick me up.  I triple confirmed it, I was like, “Hey!  My family want me to confirm one more time that they can still come out and pick me up.”  He said, ‘yes they can!  Of course!’  So, I confirmed it, then he was like, ‘So, you should probably tell the new mission president as soon as he gets here.’ Then, as he said that, President Tavares was like, ‘You know what? I’ll tell him.  I am going to call him tonight, and I already talked to him about a couple of things.  So, when I call him tonight, I will tell him that there is you, and maybe a few other missionaries that are planning of parents to come pick them up, and I’ll tell him how he supposed to do it.’  So, its 100% Go time!  In regards to that being confirmed by my mission president.  So that’s some pretty nice, cool, interesting news right?   It will save us a little bit of money with the mission ties thing.  Also, we are good to go on the coming to pick me up thing.

This week was a pretty cool week.  We went to Londrina and had the leaders council.  That was really, really inspiring.  President, he always has this one clip that he uses, that’s a mix of a Joseph B. Wirthlin talk, about leadership, and about union.  Joseph B Wirthlin makes reference to Band of Brothers, so in the clip, it shows the Band of Brothers.  So, that was a pretty cool thing.  But, I learned a lot, in leaders council.  I am learning a lot about faith recently, and everything that it entails.

I read this talk this week, holy crap!  I think all of us should really read this talk, because, mom teaches seminary, Dad’s the YM president, and its called, Learning By Faith.  I don’t know if you call it a devotional or what, but it’s a talk that Elder Bednar gave at the Jordan Institute of Religion.  And, he gave it about learning by faith.  He talks about how there are two essential parts of teaching.  There’s teaching by the spirit, which we all kind of know, and there’s learning by faith.  Which is, the person who is learning has to have the faith that they’re going to learn.  So, he talks about how its also our responsibility as teachers, to try to inspire people to want to learn.  That’s going to have a really big effect on learning.  Its an amazing talk.  I would recommend it to you guys, like today.  So good!

So I went to the leaders council, and that was really cool.  I always get to see my good old friends in the mission.  My companion, elder Leech, my last companion, he is going home today, he ended his mission, so that was kind of sad.  But, a theme we started using in our mission, because we were watching band of brothers, is that we say, “I’m not a hero, but I’m in a band of heros.”  So, basically, our mission is just like Band of Brothers. 

Anyway, so after the leaders council, I basically just traveled.  It was kind of different.  We did a week long division with the assistants , me and my companion.  And, I just traveled around with one of the assistants for the whole week.  His name was elder Petersen.  We are going to room together at Nauvoo House at BYUI because he is the man!  We are totally tight.  It was really good.  We were able to have really good work together.  We didn’t have very many plans, cause we were just travelling around.  But, we had some cool experiences where I knew we were guided by the spirit.  And, that was really pretty cool.  So, yeah, I am really excited for that.  He basically inspired me to have one of the greatest ideas I have ever had.  And, you guys are going to be like, Wow, this idea is really really stupid.  But, his goal, or dream, is to get married at BYUI, then, after 2 years of BYUI, transfer with his wife to BYU Hawaii.  I thought that was hilarious.  And, I’m probably gonna think about it. 

But, let me see what else happened this week.  So theres a missionary in my house who got really really sick on Sunday.  And, he had to go to the hospital.  So I was in the hospital with him all day on Sunday.  I think it was about from 2:30 pm to 11:00 pm.  We were there from 2:30 to 6 or 6:30,  then we went out,  and had dinner a our ward mission leaders house.  Then, when we were about to go home, around 9:00, he had to go back to the hospital, and we stayed there till 11:00.  So, I stayed at the hospital with him, I sent his companion home.   I figured the zone leader should be the one to stay up and everything, so I stayed up with him.  I sent his companion home with my companion to go sleep.  And, it was cool, I was making some contacts in the hospital, giving out some pamphlets.  And, that was actually pretty nifty. 

Oh, yeah, so my ward mission leader, he totally made us a birthday dinner yesterday.  There’s a missionary here who’s birthday is this Wednesday,  April 26, I think.  And, there’s my birthday, May 21,  and there’s another missionary, who’s birthday is May 5.  And, he didn’t know who would be going, because its transfers today,  so he made us all a birthday cake.  I will send a picture.  But, it was really cool, and really nice of his family.  They are the best family ever.  And, they are really excited to meet you guys.  They are REALLY EXCITED to meet you guys.  And, so , they are probably one of the best families I have ever met on my mission.  So, we are definitely going to come out to Presidente Prudenche . 

The clip is now out of space, but I want to tell you that I love you.  And, I hope you have a great week, and I will talk to you next week.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

(No new pictures this week, he forgot his cable for the camera.)

Good morning! Mom and Dad, and all the family.  I hope everything is going well with you guys.  Its Monday morning, the fifteenth of April.  Yeah, so let me think.  I think I’m going to get a lot of letters from Grandma and Grandpa tomorrow, because I am going to Londrina for the Leaders Council.  So, we are going to get materials.  And, if I am right, there should be some letters they have sent to me through mission ties that went to the house in Maringa.  So, those will be brought to me this week, and I will be able to read them.   Also, this week I got a letter from Matt and Chris.  And, that was probably one of the most hilarious letters I have ever read.  I am not really sure why, it was just hilarious!   I liked it a lot, and just tell them I said thanks.  And, I know she said I don’t need to write them, but I will actually try to write them or something.  But, like she said, if not, we will just talk afterwards.  Thank you for that letter, Matt and Chris. 

So, this week was a pretty interesting week.  It started out on Monday, I had a really neat experience giving another missionary a blessing.   There was a missionary going through difficult times, so he asked for a blessing.  I started, I put my hands on his head, and I said his name, and I tried to think of what to say.  There was nothing coming, it was a blank.  I couldn’t think of what to say, so I delayed five or ten seconds of me not saying anything, and then, as soon as I thought, what does the spirit want me to say,  I started to feel like…. I don’t know , its hard to describe.  Like my head was swirling or something.  And, I just started speaking words that the spirit was giving me.  And, it was a really, really intense experience.   I don’t really remember everything I said in the blessing.  I only remember the last phrase.  But, I was really grateful that it was by the spirit and everything.  That was a really neat experience.  Yeah, that was on Monday. 

And, then, also on Monday,  we went to the roof of our apartment building, I will show you pictures, we went to the roof, for P-day.  To, just, hang out up there, cause theres a place where you can just hang out.  But there’s an even higher place for antennas and stuff, and we went on top of that.  I will send you some pictures.  It was safe, don’t worry. 

Then, during the week, I worked in division every single day of the entire week, because there were three missionaries, three American missionaries, who had to go to Londrina to get their Visas renewed.   So, all their companions were sitting around and everything, so we had them working with us.   And, so I was in a lot of divisions this week, every single day.  I didn’t work with my companion once, until Sunday. 

And, I don’t know if I ever told you guys about the whole Visa thing.  But, I have been trying, and wondering how I am going to get my Visa renewed for about 8 months… 8 or 9 months.  So, we called them, 2 or 3 weeks ago, and they called the church headquarters in Brazil, which is in Sao Paulo,  and they were like, ‘you still haven’t gotten this guys paperwork in to get his Visa renewed.’  So, they just like, …. I don’t know what they did.   The secretary told me they called Brazilla, the capitol, and they called back the secretary, and were like, ‘listen,  he doesn’t have to go and get his Visa renewed, he doesn’t have to do anything, he is taken care of for the rest of the mission.’  And, so, my identification is expired and everything, and I said, ‘do I need new identification or anything?’  And they said, ‘no, you just stay exactly how you are, its taken care of.’  And, that was really kind of sketchy to me.  Just because, every missionary has to go and renew their visa and get the photos taken and all that.   So, that worked out in a way I didn’t think that was going to work out. 

I learned a lot this week.  I learned a LOT this week.  It was really, really good experience.   I read a talk by Elder Eyring called, Faith and Keys.   Which talks about how its important that we have a spiritual confirmation about the keys that our leaders hold .  I thought it was a really interesting talk, and how, if we look to have a testimony about our leaders, the prophet, about how they actually hold the keys of God, it will strengthen our testimony of the restored church.  One thing I really thought was interesting too, above all that, he said, ‘whenever there’s a change in leadership, in the apostles, the prophet, or even your bishop, they are actually really good opportunities to see, to have a witness, that Heavenly Father is still passing the keys to the next person: that he is still giving the keys to people here on the earth.  I thought it was a really interesting talk. 

I learned a lot about the priesthood this week.  I read one talk that talked a lot about it,  (??) the holy order of the son, and stuff like that.  And, it was just really, really neat stuff, that I have been learning a lot this week.  Its nice, because, on the mission I have started to learn how, what the difference is between learning, and learning by the spirit.  And, I am not really sure if I can learn things outside the gospel by the spirit, at least things inside the gospel.  And, it makes it (???) a lot more. 

So, I worked in divisions the entire week like I said.  There’s a guy we made a contact with on Wednesday, and we asked if we could come by your house one day and teach the gospel.  And, he was completely uninterested, ‘No, I have my own church.   I only live here during the week, then I go home on the weekends to the other city to where my family is.’  And then, I don’t know why, but it was the first time on my mission, when someone seemed completely uninterested, but I still felt like I had to go back there.  And so, we took down his address, and he was like, ‘yeah, if your lucky you will find me in my house.  I am only in my house between 5 and 6, maybe.’  And so, on Friday, it was 7:00 at night.  And, we were near there.  And, the missionaries we were on division with were like, “what are we going to do now?”  And, I just felt like, ‘hey, lets go to this guys house.’   And, so we showed up there at like 7:00, and he was there working on his car, just about to leave.  And, he was like, “oh, you caught me!” So, he was like, ‘you guys have three – five minutes at the max.’  I have to go, right now.  So, I just felt like I should give him a book of mormon.  So I just started talking about the Book of Mormon, what it is.  And, I don’t know if its they way his facial expressions are, or if it was really radical, but he looked really, really skeptical.  You could tell from his face, that he was like, super skeptical.  So, I just bore my testimony to him really strong, I just felt like I needed to bear my testimony to him, and it moved everything.  He took the book, he got really excited about it, he was like, ‘thank you for coming by.’  And, it was just because of the testimony that we bore, and it touched his heart.  And, its nice to know he’s going to read the book.  And I was really excited because it was the first time the Lord prompted me to go back to someone who didn’t want anything to do with anything. 

But, I am almost out of space on this voice recording, so I love you guys, and I will talk to you next week. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Good morning Family!  This is Elder Hoskin on April 8, 2013 with my voice recording for this week.  I hope you guys had a great week, and that everything has been good for you guys.   This week was pretty crazy, like all the other weeks.  We started off with a Zone Conference on Tuesday.   We had to wake up at 3:00 in the morning, then take a bus to Marilla.  My second area.  And, so it was like a three hour bus ride.  I woke up at 3:00, we left at 5:00, and we got there around 8:00.   We had a really good zone conference.   It was nice to be back in my favorite city.  That’s my favorite are:  Marilla.  And,  I was talking to an elder that is serving in my old area, Palmital that I passed 6 months through.  The members that I helped and baptized are still going to church.  He says they talk about me and one other elder.   So, its really nice to hear that everyone still remembers me.   I wrote a little note to one person there, and I told them, “hey! My parents are coming to get me, so we are going to pass by your house and eat lunch during the end of Aug.  The 21 – 28th.”  So, I am already kind of preparing for that.   They probably got real excited to hear that.   So, we got back on the same day.  We left at 7:00 and got home around 10:00.   Then, went to bed.  Then I woke up at 6:00 in the morning.   And, I had to travel to another city.   Called Tupa. T – U – P – A -  with a squiggly line above it.   That city is two and a half hours away.   So, I went with another elder.  We went in a division – or in splits.   We went to that city to help out the Elders there.   I got to work with one of my old friends, Elder Welling.   He was in the last zone that I was in.   He’s really cool.   Elder Welling, he is from Alaska.  He is one of the better friends I made on the mission.  You guys are probably going to hear all about him after the mission because we are going to hang out. 

So, we had a bunch of really cool experiences.   Then on Thursday, I came back to Presidench Prudenche.  On Wednesday I started feeling really sick.   I was afraid it was ‘Dinghy’.  I am not really sure what the translation is in Portuguese, but its like a sickness: its like a really, really bad cold but worse.   You have to stay at home for two weeks.  I thought it was ‘Dinghy’ but it ended up not being.  Its just a normal cold.   So that was good, I didn’t have to spend any time in the house or anything. 

So, Thursday, we were trying to find people to come to general conference, Because there was general conerence on Saturday and Sunday.   Then, Friday, I had to make a really tough decision.  We had some people that we needed to pass on Saturday, then, we needed to go to a different city.  That one city where our little group is.  We had to go there on Saturday to try to find people to go to conference on Sunday you know?   But, the only thing is,  if we did that, then I wouldn’t have been able to watch the two sessions of conference on Saturday.   And, conference is one of my favorite parts about everything.   So, I actually prepare a lot before conference.   And so, it was a really difficult decision.   And, my companion doesn’t really care that much about general conference at all.   He was already pursing(?) on it, so I had to kindof make a decision.  And, I was sitting in my room on Friday night, and I was writing all this in my journal.  And, I was writing, and I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do.  I was kind of bitter, I was kind of mad.   But then, I received a really sweet revelation when I was writing.  I remember I had a really nice experience.   I was writing in my journal and I was thinking about how I wasn’t going to be able to watch the conference,  and I was waiting for this for 6 months.   I wouldn’t be able to learn more or have personal inspiration, and it seemed like the spirit said to me, almost like a voice,  a voice that you feel, you know?... I just remember him saying really clearly, “you are not in this for you, but for them.”  And, I remembered in that moment that the spirit had to teach me again, that the mission is not at all about me, but its about the people that we are helping.  So, he taught me that message, again.  Heavenly Father is patient with me.  Because, I guess I had forgotten it in that moment.  And, so, it was hard still, but I just decided I was going to accept it, and we were going to go find people on Saturday.   And, so, then on Saturday, we left at 6:00 in the morning to go to our other city.  We traveled 2 ½ or 3 hours to get there.  And, we got there, and it ended up being a really successful day.  We got some people who wouldn’t have gone to church on Sunday if we wouldn’t have gone.  If we didn’t help them out.  And, so that ended up being completely worth it.  And, I still got to watch the sessions on Sunday.  Sunday was really cool.  Because, our ward mission leader here, is the best member I have ever seen, in regards to helping the missionaries in everything.  And, so we had lunch with him on Sunday.   So, here it starts at 1:00 and goes till 3:00,  and then starts at 5:00 and goes till 7:00, right?   So, we had to eat lunch early.  So, we went to his house at around 9 or 10 in the morning.  We helped him and his family finish making lunch.  That was really nice, then we all ate lunch. 

Then we went to the first session.  I actually learned a lot in these two sessions that I really liked and I thought I would share some things with you.  Some things I learned:  I really liked the talk by L. Whitney Clayton about a strong Celestial marriage.  I know that I’m gonna have to keep that one in my back pocket for the next 4 ½ months, but that talk was freaking awesome!  And, I am going to have to use that talk, near in the future.   And then also, I learned that the prophet does not choose the line of the talks.  He doesn’t even like,  get inspiration for them, someone just chooses them and gives them to him.  Cause when he was talking he was like, “I am grateful for the privilege that was given to me to talk.  I’m like, ‘who’s choosing those talks?’

And then, in the second session,  I am just going really quick, I don’t have too much time.  I really liked Elder Holland’s talk, of course.  He talked about not acting or relying on the faith that you don’t have, but be true to the faith that you do have.   I really liked that concept.  Because, some people, especially missionaries, they really think that they have to lie about how much faith they have, or try to overestimate their faith.  They need to just work with the faith that they actually have.   Elder Oaks taught me that Christ baptized people.  That was freaking awesome!  And then, that Seventy named Christoffel Goldman taught me: The one that’s the Father and the Son, is not only theirs,  but want it for each of us.  (??) That’s a pretty cool concept.  I liked the one that talked about finding acceptance of the Lord.  And then. Bruce Porter taught me that good cheer follows from an abiding trust in the Savior.  That was basically the revelation I was looking for this week.  I wanted something for how I could be happier.  Its been difficult for me my entire life to be happy, I am not sure why.  Its just who I am.  But, I really liked that talk that said that, Good cheer follows from abiding trust in the Savior. 

That was a really good week, and I will talk to you next week. 
Okay, Bye. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hello mom and dad!  Joseph, Alayna, Desmond, Grandma, Grandpa.

So, this is the voice recording that ended on the 31st of March.  The month of March is officially over.  Which means that next week is general conference.  Woot!  I am really excited.  This week was a pretty crazy week.   I don’t know if I told you this in the last voice recording or not, but like Dad, I consider myself pretty much a road warrior now.  Call me a road warrior.  Because I spend so much time, traveling on buses, that its almost ridiculous. 

We went to a city this last week, it was an hour and a half outside of our city.   Because we got a member reference.  The member reference was from the apostle, Neal A Anderson.   So, it was a pretty heavy member reference.  What is was, is, there’s an international law professor who lives near our city.   He is fluent in English and everything else.  He was invited to give a seminar at BYU about international law and international religious freedom, and stuff like that.  So, he went there, spent some time there, then he had lunch.  But, when he had lunch, all the seats were pre-arranged,  and he said that he sat right next to Neal A Anderson.  And, they talked the whole time about the gospel.  And then, I guess he took his address, and he gave it to us.   This professor, his name is Algier.  This professor, I don’t know how to say it in English, But he’s an Adventist.  Its that religion that Ellen White made whenever she left the church.  The one that says that the Sabbath Day is still Saturday.  He’s one of those, and he has been that since 1994.   So, we went to his house on Saturday, to talk to him about the Book of Mormon, and our message and everything.   It was pretty awesome.  He is really rich, really wealthy.  The thing is, it doesn’t really matter if its our religion, or his religion,  or any religion, he is not really into the whole faith thing.   Its more, like, the biblical proof, or the logic behind it.  And, I learned a really interesting story this week, in regards to all that.   WE have him, right?  Who has had years and years of education.  He showed us his library, which has 1,000 books, and he has read all of them.  Crazy educated, all that stuff.  But, he didn’t have the prerequisites in order to grow his faith, which is humility and receiving the word.   He doesn’t feel like he needs to read the Book of Mormon to know its true.  He’s like, No, I need to know Joseph Smith is true to read the book.  Or, we said, you need to read and pray about the book to know its true.  He said, ‘no, I can just read it, and if the teachings are the same as my church, then it’s the right book.’  So, he lacks the prerequisites in order to exercise faith: including a desire to even receive a response.   He told us that other missionaries had talked to him,  and other people had talked to him and told him that a response will come in the form of a feeling, right?   That’s the way we explain it, because we have no other way to explain it.   Its really hard to explain.   He told us that, ‘I don’t believe your feelings, your heart, is what guides your responses from Heavenly Father.  Because it says in the Bible that you shouldn’t follow your heart, you should follow Heavenly Father.    So he didn’t understand, I tried to explain it to him, but he didn’t feel like praying is that necessary.  He felt like the response that we that we always talk about was a good enough of a response. 

So, there was another person we were teaching this week, his name was Alichandree.  We found him last Saturday, so a week and two days ago.   We taught him the second lesson, because his Dad had passed away, about 2 or 3 years ago.   And, he was 14 years old.   He’s just a really simple kid.  He stays at home playing video games a lot.  And, he doesn’t really have a desire to do anything, one of those really lazy kids.  But, we taught him the second lesson, and he’s like, ‘yeah, I’ll go to church!’   So he went to church with us last Sunday, and we gave him a book of mormon.  We told him to read and pray, like we do to everyone else.   And so, he started to do it, he started to read, and started to pray.  And, he received a response on Tuesday.   And, he already wanted to be baptized.   And, we asked him, ‘how did you feel when you were reading the book?’  He said, ‘I felt like the spirit was by my side.’  And, he prayed about it.  And, he said, ‘I never felt that feeling before whenever I prayed.’  It was a really good spiritual experience, a really spiritual kid.  He got baptized yesterday. 

And, I wanted to share both their examples today, just to show the difference.  Because you have one guy who is really educated.  Who is an international Law professor.  He has gone to other countries besides the United States to give discussions and lectures and all that,  and then you have this humble kid, who doesn’t really want to do anything in life right now.  Doesn’t even like to go to school.  But, a humble kid that has almost no experience, he chose to humble himself, and to read the book, and to pray with a pure heart and real intent.  And, he received his response.  And, the Adventist guy didn’t, because he chose not to believe that he could receive a response.  It is a really good life long story that I will definitely keep with me about the difference that makes.  And that, you really just need to humble yourself, and be open to what Heavenly Father has to say, and not to what you think you can find.  Faith is a process, right?  So the beginning of Faith is just when you want to know, then you pray to know.  Then, you get a response.  The faith that Algier, the international Law Professor, wanted, is the faith further down the road, where you can actually see the fruits.  Whenever you use your faith as a principle of power.  He wanted to see a sign almost.  He wanted to see actual manifestations if the things we were talking about were true.  You have to use your faith first. 

So, that was really cool, that was a nice story.   Also, I met someone named, Guy this week.  There’s a lady in our Branch named Bianca.  She’s like 60 years old.  She has a husband who is 70 years old, and he’s an American.  And, he’s been living in Brazil for 8 years now, and doesn’t speak ANY Portuguese.  And, they are really, really rich, and we went to eat lunch with them on Friday.   He’s really cool.  He is a huge Glenn Beck Fan.  I was telling him how you guys are really big Glenn Beck fans and he got really excited.  He told me about some bracelet that they were trying to get the kids studying in America to use.  It like, tracks them, right?  And he says that Glenn Beck is talking about it all the time.   Basically, he told me he was a huge Fan.  I told him you guys went to the rally in Washington DC.  He says he definitely want to talk with you and meet you when you come out to get me.  So that will be a really cool experience because he’s a straight up American, so you will be able to talk to him in English and everything. 

Other than that, everything is going really well here.  I am getting to know the Branch really well.  Whenever I got the call to go to this city, I thought, no we don’t have to go there with my parents, because we already have it all kindof planned out.   But now that I’m here we might have to make plans to pass here, maybe one day.  There’s a lot of people here you can talk with, and it will be really cool. 

But, that’s all for now, I hope you guys are having a great week.  I am having a great week, and I will talk to you next Monday, bye!

Hey mom and Dad:

This is your son Zach, woot! Elder Hoskin.  This is the sound clip from last week.  Tell you what happened last week.  ‘Cause there was a virus on my voice recorder, because of the Lan Houses here.  They had to delet everything to clean out the virus, so I am doing another sound clip.  So, it should all be good now. 

Things are going pretty well here in Prudench Prudench.  Theres a city called Presidente Epitachio, its about three hours away from our city.  We have a group there.  You know, Ward, branch, group.  We have a group of about 25 people.  And, its really, really cool.  It’s a city right on the border of the state of Sao Paulo, and the state of Mattau Grosso, which is another mission.  And, its right on the shore of the Parana River.   That is a really big river that divides the two states.  We went up there last week.  And, President gave us permission to sleep at a members house, which is also kind of weird.   That was weird that happened.   We slept there, and we did some visits.  And, its really cool, it’s a really nice place.  Its about 40,000 people.  There is one building, that’s a relatively tall building.  All the other buildings are one or two stories.  Its really neat, its right next to the river.   And, theres a lot of really great people there.  So, we’ve gone to that area to start helping people but it’s kind of far away and it uses a lot of traveling money.  I’ve never taken the bus so much in my life/mission than I have here in this city.   We take the inner city but every day just to get to our area.  And then, on top of that, we have to take the bus to go to lots of other areas that are like three hours away.  But, its all worth it because there are some really good people up there.

Last week we had leader’s council, which was really good, because I got to see my good friend Elder Hutchings again.  But the coolest part about last week was that city we were opening up.  I’m really excited to start working there.

Things are going really well.  I started reading some of the Lectures on Faith.  I’m not sure if mom or dad has heard of them or read them before.   Someone gave me the Lectures on Faith along with an institute curriculum so with every lecture I have bunch of talks and stuff to read so its actually really neat.

So things here are going really well and we are working hard.  The branch President here looks exactly like dad.  I’m serious.  He’s got the hair, or lack thereof, he kind of has a similar face, and he works in a jail.  I know dad used to work in a juvenile center.  Also, the branch president hates garlic and dad hates onions.  So its coming together that the branch president is a Brazilian version of dad.  It’s pretty cool.  I’ll take a picture of him and I’ll send it to you.  I told him I would do the same thing with a picture of dad.

I’m starting to get worried/nervous/excited for the whole after mission thing but I try not to think about it too much.  When I think about coming home, I kind of get sad because 1) the mission will be over and 2) I won’t be coming home how I thought I would be coming home.

I got the package.  Thank you very much mom and dad for the Easter package.  The water bottle works great.  I use it every day.  I also really enjoy the little Preach My Gospel you sent me.  Also, the shirts are always nice.  I have a lot of white V neck shirts and that’s how I like it.  Also, thank you for the candy.  Candy is always way good.

I’m sorry I’m kind of tired in this sound clip.  We just got back from a four hour bus ride and so I’m kind of spaced out but I’m going to make the other sound clip now for this week.  Actually, I have more to say.  In my zone there are 2 main cities, President’s Prudente and Tupa.  We went to Tupa on Thursday.  We left about 6:30 in the morning and got there about 10:30 and then, on Wednesday (?) we took the bus back to President’s Prudente and then, that afternoon we took another three hour bus ride to President’s Epitachio so we have been traveling alot.

I met a really cool elder named Elder Bateman.  His family owns a giant dairy farm in Utah called Bateman Farms.  I saw a bunch of pictures and its huge.  I don’t know if Grandpa and Grandma know them?  It’s right on the edge of lake Utah.  But he’s really cool.  I was very interested that Grandma and Grandpa have a cabin in Island Park. 

So things are going really well.  I’m really tired.  I’m learning a lot in regards to the gospel and growing my testimony.  Yesterday was the 27th of March which was exactly 20 months which I have been on my mission which is a lot of time. 

But, I love you guys.  I want you to know that you guys are always in my prayers.  I’m grateful for everything you guys do for me and I’m doing as much as I can for the last 6 months of my mission.  I’m doing well.  The closer to the end I get, the more feeling of satisfaction I get.  I know there is always more I can do everyday but it I keep trying to do more and more, I know I will be really satisfied with my mission. 

I love you guys and I’ll talk to you later.