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          A Visit to the Brazil MTC!
              Part TWO 2004-2005

This is of the Brazil MTC Mission web site of Elder and Sister de Paula, from Highland Utah, who served on site in São Paulo from June 2003 to May 2005. 

NOTE:Because we are no longer in Brazil, this website is a few years old now and has not been updated since our departure.  It does, however, give an overview of the Brazil MTC, surroundings, daily activities, pictures of events and outing in Sao Paula and surrounding areas.  It will hopefully give the spirit and importance of mnissionary service.  

 2004-2005 Mission Newsletters          

 

   January 2004 Mission Newsletter

                       Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Z. de Paula
                      Mt. Timpanogos Temple
                         January 16, 2004    

We knew before we came into the mission field that we would miss many important family events.  We just didn’t know how many.  When our son called with the news that he and Rachelle had set a wedding date for January 16 in Mt. Timpanogos Temple, we were hoping we could be there.  The request process is a bit complicated.  First, we email the CTM president with our specific request, who, in turn emails it to the Brazil South Area President, who then forwards it to a General Authority in Salt Lake. Approval came indicating that we could go home, at our own expense, “for a few days.”  We began first checking Delta Airlines flights (we have flight benefits as parents of an employee) but quickly found that all the flights were full!  We were appalled!  We learned that in Brazil, January is the biggest vacation month of all because it’s summer and school is out.  We found the same scenario on other commercial flights.  No seats available! 

Elder de Paula called a friend who is an executive with Brazilian TAM Airlines to see, just by chance if he could pull a string or two so we could attend this important event in our family. No open seats at any price!  Because of our duties and the time constraints, we did not have the luxury of leaving the CTM in December and returning in February just to “beat the crowds.” 
Then, about ten days after our initial call to TAM, the miracle happened. We got word that TAM Airlines had just opened a new flight from São Paulo to Miami leaving on January 12th and returning on the 22nd.  We booked it and paid the fare that day.  We stayed overnight in Miami at a hotel I found on the Internet, and flew to Salt Lake the next morning.

Our only son, Matthew Zimmerman de Paula married Rachelle Mickelson in a perfect ceremony on a crisp, chill winter day in the lovely Mt. Timpanogos Temple.  The ceremony, performed by our dear friend, Hershal Pederson, temple sealer and former member of the temple presidency, was beautiful. He spoke to the couple of specific points that would make their marriage significant and eternal.  Rachelle was lovely and radiant!  Matt was peaceful and happy.  What a beautiful couple.That evening the brides parents hosted a spectacular dinner and dance at the top of the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Salt Lake City - complete with dinner, live band, and a chocolate fountain!   (click on the family web site   for pictures)      
     

Even in times of joy there are times of trial and testing.  Our trip home became was a testimony to us that the Lord is aware of everything and will bless those who serve Him.  Our eleventh grand child was born in December and we were able to attend her blessing in Alpine. In our nine days home, Sister de Paula went with family members to eight doctor appointments.  Sharon’s mother, Ardell Zimmerman Adamson, had heart surgery and lost the sight in one eye, and we were blessed to spend time with her. 
Our daughter Nicole, was diagnosed just after Christmas 2003 with Hodgkins Lymphoma, Stage IV.  It was during our week at home that the oncologist, Dr. Tudor found a “black spot” on Nicole’s pelvic bone.  I asked the doctor what that meant.  He whipped around and said "It means we're going to get it - it may just take longer!" 

After Nicole came back in the room, I turned to her and said “Well, I guess after this latest news, most mothers would say ‘I guess I should stay home and take care of my daughter’  -  to which she quickly replied “But you’re not going to say that, are you?”  I couldn’t.  I wasn’t supposed to.  The Lord was in charge.  My reply was “Nicole, I need to get back on that mission so I can “demand” the Lord’s blessing on you!”  She knew what I meant.  We do not ask “why our daughter?” or even “why now?” 

The Lord allows all of us to experience life in all it’s expressions and has shown us how to get through it all with joy and rejoicing!  We love the plan!  Nicole is blessed to have such a dear, helpful and supportive husband, Frank and her brother and sisters, Grandma Ardell and wonderful friends and neighbors to support her ... and us.  (Update March 2005: After 16 rounds of chemotherapy treatments and every conceivable test, Nicole has been "cancer-free" for six months!)

Sincerely, Elder and Sister de Paula

 

    
March 2004 Mission Newsletter 
  
Pacaembu  Stadium 
 

We have been here nine months - unbelievably.  We really do miss all our loved ones, but at the same time we know we are on the Lord's errand.  Over the past several weeks we have had some wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experiences .  One of the important things we have looked forward to is the re-dedication of the São Paulo Temple and a visit from the prophet to  an outdoor soccer stadium.

One day prior to  the temple dedication, on the opening day of Brazil's famous "Carnival," President Hinckley spoke to 60,000+ at Pacaembu Soccer Stadium and attended the gala that followed.  This event truly rivaled an Olympics with 5000 church members participating all the way from Rio to Curitiba!

An Army of Missionaries

1,000 missionaries  set up chairs for President Hinckley's visit covering the full soccer field!  We watched from our vantage point high above the field as this army in white moved like magic to fill an assignment!  But it was at the opening of the widely-publicized gala, that we felt their power.  One thousand missionaries and some future missionaries marched the full length of the field singing "Called to Serve."  What a power and spirit they have!  We just love working with them!  After their service and gala participation their seats had been given away and they were forced to stand in the pouring rain for over four hours, then waited for buses for three more hours.  They now have mold in their shoes but a heart full of beautiful memories from their day with the prophet!  This event made front-page headlines in the Sunday morning newspaper - even up-staging Carnival!
 

 Pacaembu Soccer Stadium Celebration
with President Hinckley

The color and coordination of more than 5,000 performers on stage was a sight to behold.  Members and their friends enjoyed a wonderful evening of entertainment representative of the various regions of Brazil.  The miracle was that there was only one practice for the two-hour presentation!  (click here to see pictures)

Elder & Sister Wm.  Grant Bangerter (former mission president in Brazil) & their daughter Julie Beck & husband Ramon came to Brazil for the temple rededication.  We know these dear friends and neighbors from home in Alpine, Utah.  On Friday February 20 they spoke at a spur-of-the-moment fireside here at the CTM.  We had a pleasant time reminiscing and visiting at lunch together here.  President Hinckley described the Bangerters as "three-fourths Brazilian!"
 
Temple Dedication via Satellite to CTM
 

We were blessed to participate via close-circuit transmission to the CTM.  The next day was our P-day and we attended the very first endowment session at the temple.  The last time we had attended that temple was in 1979, right after the temple was first build.  Elder de Paula has been able to participate, over the years, in the coordination, translation and recording of the temple ceremony, including the ones used in this temple.  The stories keep pouring in of the people drawn to this beautiful edifice.  As Elder Eyring and others have said, "Brazil is ready for the gospel." 


 How can we be so lucky to be here?

Hugs, the  de Paulas

 


 

  April 2004 Mission Newsletter

Missionaries Watch April Conference Live        
 

We've learned much new information since coming on our mission here at the CTM (MTC) in São Paulo Brazil.  But the biggest shock is that one month in "mission time" is equivalent to just a day or two in real time.  It must be fact!  In one year from today we will be hugging our family in Utah.  Amazing!

General Conference is a wonderful event at the CTM!  Missionaries attend and participate as if they were in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.  What a blessing technology is in the work of the Lord!

We've gotten used to taxis, graffiti, the stunningly beautiful shopping malls, ugly buildings, humidity, beans and rice, exorbitant gas prices, no cold milk at the market next door, frequent robberies of stores and banks, bus fumes, amazing restaurants, dodging the city's one trillion speeding cars, and the "fallout" from the two trillion dogs, and the endless display of beautiful flowers and numerous other idiosyncrasies of the world's third largest city.   But what we can't get used to is how happy, productive and good the people are, even with so very little!  The family is all important to them.  They dote on their children and try to give them the best of everything.  Almost every child has a Spiderman or Barbie backpack.  Those types of items cost more here than they do in the states.  The average household income in the US in 2003 was $80,286.  For Brazil, it was $19,982.  They work hard, are taxed beyond reason, and they are, for the most part, a happy people prepared to receive the gospel message.  Church members in Brazil are typically educated, dedicated leaders with many holding important business and government  positions.

Meet Two of Our Friends at the CTM

The first is a teacher, Sister Boscolo who served her mission on Temple Square until about a year ago.  She began working at the CTM at about the same time we arrived here nearly a year ago.  (She did happen to mention that she "recognized me from somewhere"  - that somewhere having been the Tabernacle Choir.) Sister Boscolo is tall, thin, lovely, single, intelligent and fluent in English and Portuguese.  She is one of the 54 teachers here, and like most of her fellow workers, is a university student, does not own a car and has a 2-hour bus trip to get to work.  Like all the teachers who have taught in the CTM in its 7-year history, she is a returned missionary and will be able to work as a teacher here only while she is in school and for a maximum of three years. 

The second is Alan Safuan, a former teacher and now full-time employee in the travel department at the CTM.  He is married with two small sons.  (In our September newsletter we shared the story about a man from Recife who was led by the spirit to São Paulo because he felt he would here find the means by which "his sins would be forgiven."  While driving down the street in front of the CTM the spirit told him to stop the car.  Well, Brother Safuan was the instrument to help this good man from Recife.) Okay, two weeks ago, after work Brother Safuan went grocery shopping in the little store by the CTM.  It was dusk.  He needed to drop some eggs off to a ward member "just around the corner" so he remained double-parked in the idling car with his two sons in the back seat while his wife ran through the gate to the members house.  Two armed assailants approached his door and ordered him out of the car at gunpoint.  They wanted his car!  They took the boys from their car seats, put them on the sidewalk and sped off around the corner.  This young father ran to his sons, grateful they were not harmed.  Because insurance is not mandatory and is very expensive, the car was not covered, but this little family is grateful that their lives were spared.


Crime is close by, but we are protected.  We know that.  We are really glad that the alley - soon to be a landscaped exercise track - between our apartment and the CTM will be finished in about two weeks.  It will beautiful, safe and close!

Things are just as busy as ever for us here even though we hit an all-time low as far as numbers of missionaries goes.  There are only 156 missionaries at the CTM today with no American missionaries having arrived this week.  We, however have a few additional assignments and responsibilities of teaching Gospel Doctrine, Large Group Meetings, and now meeting with companion missionaries four times a week to observe/critique the discussions.  The work is fascinating and we continue to learn so much!  The world- famous CTM choir - ever changing of course - gets bigger and bigger all the time and is producing some pretty celestial sounds.  At Tuesday night's meeting where an area authority speaks, one-half of the missionary congregation was singing in the choir.  I'm sure there couldn't be a better mission in the whole church! 
 

Sister de Paula is the "Mom" of treats.  There is always candy in the jar at the Help Desk, and sometimes some extra treats like pink "granny" popcorn, chocolate-chunk cashew oatmeal cookies, or buttered parmesan popcorn.  The CTM staff seems to linger close by on those days too! 
 

Because the Help Desk assists the missionaries with all sorts of concerns, problems, lost articles, needs in the rooms, etc.  such as:

  • closet key lost
  • plumbing problem
  • broken door
  • other

So, one missionary checked that the fan was broken.  Then, under "other," he mentioned that his room didn't have a Smoothie machine.  Gee….  really Elder???

Elder de Paula is the official "escort/translator" for every missionary that has to go to the hospital or to a testing lab.  The last few excursions have been 5-8 hour jaunts.  The CTM doctor and the ailing missionaries just love him!  He probably won't be able to get his license to practice medicine, but he has picked up a virus or two!  At the doctor's suggestion, I fixed him homemade chicken soup last night and made him rest most of yesterday and today.  He just has to be better to go see the Young Ambassadors tonight!  We are so excited to see them.

We are so thankful for our mission and for the blessings that it has brought to our family members.  We are certain that very specific blessings and opportunities have come to them because of our service here.  As senior missionaries, our mission allows us to email and talk with our family as often as we want to.  We love receiving pictures and voice message from our children's cell phones!  It's so fun to hear our newest little granddaughter Alexa gurgling and laughing!  Or to see Matt and Rachelle's new king-size bed within 5 minutes after they got it!  Or to see Nicole's newest "hair-do" (we use the term loosely since she in having chemo treatments!) 
  

Technology Keeps us Close!
 
That flexibility gives us the chance to talk with Landon about his recent ordination as a deacon, to talk to Mom while she is working in her garden or caring for Keith, to sing Happy Birthday to a grandchild, to make plans for Angela's family to visit in June, to talk about how to replace a burned-out fuse and to share spiritual or humorous moments with our family.  These things keep us close. 

We just simply couldn't be more blessed than to be 6000 miles from home, yet so very close. We love receiving even the shortest email from you about your family, your work, your fun, your concerns, and your blessings.  We count your as one of our dearest blessings. 
 
Thanks for keeping in touch,

Love, Elder and Sister de Paula
 


 

   June 2004 Mission Newsletter
     June Visitors!

While all of you North Americans are enjoying a beautiful summer, we are down here in "semi-tropical" São Paulo nearly freezing to death!  It's not that the displayed temperatures look intolerably low, but add the wind, the rain and the high humidity and our Utah-conditioned bodies are suffering. I never thought I'd need winter gloves, a warm neck scarf or that I would wear out an umbrella!  But I've done all three.

All structures, including the CTM and our apartment building are build of solid concrete to keep out the heat.  They do.  And with no central heat anywhere, inside can be even colder than outside.  So while you enjoy camping, gardening, parades, lounging at the pool and backyard barbeques, think of us serving and shivering in the mission field  . . . but without the beauty of that Utah snow!     
 

The Perfect Vacation!  

One of our recent blessings was the visit of our daughter's family - Al & Angela Peters, with children Landon 12, Quinn 8 and Marley Kate 6.  They arrived very early June 3 and left late on June 8.  Never in the history of mankind has anyone done more partying in 5½ days than we did!  We boarded a luxury bus at midnight Thursday and arrived in Lin's hometown at 6:00 am.  Angela spent her junior year of high school here in the beautiful city of Curitiba and was anxious to show her family her "roots." This could be the best city in South America.  Curitiba, Brazil is truly a model city!  After three decades of thoughtful city planning, this gorgeous city of 1.6 million people has tree-lined streets, effective public transportation, beautiful parks, progressive schools and will soon have a new temple in one of the finest sections of town.  Al kept asking what business he could start so they could move here!  We loved visiting everyone there with the Peters family from Layton, Utah.

There is a mission rule in Brazil that couple missionaries may be gone "occasionally" staying one night.  We made the best of it while our wonderful guests were here!  After the 2-day (one night) visit to Curitiba, we arrived back in São Paulo in time to complete all our Sunday duties at the CTM.    

Since June 6 was the first Sunday of the month, it was CTM Mission Conference.  Elder de Paula sang the special musical number - "I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked" which President Ostergar said set the tone for the entire conference.  It truly did.  The young missionaries, as well as branch presidencies were over-whelmed by the strong spirit that was present.  That afternoon we drove our family to visit the São Paulo Temple grounds and the charming tourist city of Embu.  Time was just too short to see much in and around this giant  metropolis!

The Peters Family visit Rio!  
                              
Sunday June 6 - After our meetings Sunday, we enjoyed a day of sun, warmth and visiting the temple grounds in São Paulo. Divine!  After our usual Sunday fireside, complete with speaker and a CTM choir performance, we visited, packed another suitcase and got a little sleep before our 5:00 am flight Monday morning for Rio - the world's most stunning city!  In 1½ days we did it all! So fun!
 
So Tuesday night, after a delayed flight, a 2-hour taxi ride (12 miles!) and a missed devotional attendance, we said good-bye to the Peters family as they dashed to the airport to return to Utah.  We were horrified that we missed the devotional!  And of all things, Elder Neil L. Andersen, Brazil South Area President was the speaker.  We know him well.  He know us.  Oh, the embarrassment! 

After everything was all over, we crept into President Ostergar's office to apologize for "not showing up" (even though we had called and arranged replacements for us at the devotional).  We were almost shaking with fear.  The thoughts darted through our minds. What would he say?  Would we be sent home?   We did our best at explaining and apologizing. Then his reply - (in true President Ostergar wit) "What do you mean 'you're sorry you couldn't make' - we had the best meeting we've ever had without you!"

These memories will stay in our hearts forever and keep us going for the remainder of our 10½ months of mission service. Oh, the joys of mission work!
 
Beijos & Abraços,
Elder and Sister de Paula
 


 

 

     August 2004 Mission Newsletter
 
 

The Lord prepares our minds and our hearts for missionary service.  We have seen it in the young elders and sisters who come through the doors of the CTM, and we see it in ourselves.  That doesn't mean that things are easy.  What is does mean is that they are divinely appointed.  We are all given many new opportunities to stretch and grow.  We learn to face our fears, to overcome our weaknesses, and purify our relationships.  We are tempered for service to others.  We stretch and grow.  We laugh and cry and love both.  The process is wonderful. 
 
                                              
                       The Story of Our Mission Calls
 
It was October of 2002, the Sunday after General Conference and after a memorable year of wonderful choir activities, including the 2002 Winter Olympics and the Nauvoo Temple dedication that Sister de Paula retired from eighteen years service in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Elder de Paula had retired from the Choir 5 years earlier.  His retirement from  working for the Corporation of the President after 32 years was to be just a few weeks later on December 20, 2002. 
 
 
In late November, just between those two major changes in our lives, President Joel Zabriski, our Highland East Stake President was visiting our ward one Sunday.  The next week were sitting across the desk from him as he told us what had happened.  He said that the previous week when he was in our ward, when he looked at us sitting there, he received a message from the Spirit, more than once.  It was one word - "mission."  He described it as such a strong prompting that he almost said something to the effect "Okay, okay, I will."
 
The stake president handed us four pages of "mission needs for couples" and we went home to pick our place as he had suggested.  With a daughter's wedding and a son's college graduation in early May of 2003, we wouldn't need to make a decision very soon.  We had plenty of time - until a second call came three weeks later that the stake president wanted to see us.  A little confused we went back to his office to learn that he had received a call from the Missionary Department at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City.  The committee member had described a couple that was needed "somewhere in the world" and before he could finish, President Zabriski interjected "Oh, yes, you need the de Paulas?"  All he would tell us is that it was "a very exciting call."
 
In the night and into the early morning, Sister de Paula pondered and then a light went on. At 4:00 am, the quiet, little message settled in her mind "You are going to the MTC in Sao Paulo Brazil."  So, first things first, she got out of bed, went into the Internet and found a year-round weather chart for Sao Paulo.  It looked good - not too hot, not too cold!   And it would surely beat that "tent in Kenya" where Elder de Paula was dreaming of going! 
 
We arrived in Brazil fourteen months ago today.  Where has time gone? And we thought a 2-year mission would actually take two years.  It seems like a good time to pause for a personal inventory of our service in the mission field.  Many of the words our stake president spoke in the setting apart of each of use have become more vivid and profound as we reflect on our time here.  Missionary couples fill out individual mission applications, receive separate mission calls, and are quite obviously set apart individually.  

                                   
Our Setting Apart Blessings
 

To Elder de Paula - "I bless you to recognize the hand of the Lord in your life - that you will be prompted and directed and that the Spirit will rest upon you as you are faithful to your covenants.  The Lord is pleased with your desire to serve - regardless of the assignment.  Share your love of the Lord and the gospel.  I bless you with health and strength to complete all the assignments give you. Recognize your experiences years ago in this country as a young missionary and impart your wisdom and testimony by the spirit.   You will be inspired as to the principles that need to be taught.  Drink from the well of living waters - from the mission president you will learn much.  I bless you with immediate recall, through the Spirit, from the things you are taught by them.  You have an abundance of love from the Lord, from your wife, and your family."

To Sister de Paula -  "I bless you with courage, inspiration and revelation to bring joy to the missionaries, that you will see the hand of the Lord in this missionary work.  Welcome the homesick missionaries.  Help them recognize the faith to go forward.  Recall personal, tender experiences and share them with love.  Teach the missionaries how to teach by the Spirit.  Inspiration and revelation will be given to you.  Bless their lives with music and give them a glimpse of your profound love of music.  Encourage, teach and bless their lives.  Be humble and listen to the instruction given to you by your leaders. You will see growth and development.  I bless you to be comfortable that your family will be blessed.  As your family is faithful, they will know of the blessings that they and you have been blessed with through the years."  We are experiencing the promises of those blessings as we dedicate this very important part of our lives to the Lord."

When a Fireside Speaker Does Not Show Up

Every Sunday evening at the CTM, there is a fireside for the missionaries.  Tonight, Sunday August 1, there was an especially uplifting meeting.  The organist, Elder Jacob Jones, was still playing his beautiful prelude music until 15 minutes after the starting time of the fireside, when it was announced that the speaker had not arrived. 
 
President Ostergar entered the hall and announced that the meeting - and the CTM choir to sing a special number "Abide With Me."  The music was celestial and powerfully evoked a spirit that filled the room.  The President then rose to speak.  He gave a wonderful presentation on the power of the Book of Mormon.  He said that at one point while he was mission president in Kentucky he talked about the Book of Mormon and felt it was a weak presentation.  The next time he changed it a bit and it got worse.  Then it came to him that he was talking about the power of the book without teaching from the Book of Mormon - that to feel the power of the book, one has to get into it. 
 
The president showed how important it is to present those ideas, concepts, truths and stories in the Book of Mormon that will get the investigator excited about reading it.  He began in 3rd Nephi and what happened in the Americas, pointing out that it was the same thing that happened in the old world and can be compared to the Biblical account. 
He reminded the missionaries that we are not trying to "prove" the book is true through this exercise - just trying to get the person excited to read it! 

President Ostergar said that when he changed his presentation to actually "get into the Book of Mormon" - and he made the presentation many times - that without exception, every time at least one person would tell him afterwards that they were going to be baptized because they gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and now know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.
 

We are so blessed by great leaders.  This is one of the best times of our lives.
 
Sincerely, Elder & Sister de Paula 


  
October 2004 Mission Newsletter

   
             Elder Scott Addresses MTC Missionaries

Not many people in the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have had the great blessing of being taught literally at the feet of an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.  On Friday October 22, that was the profound blessing of the missionaries and staff of the CTM in São Paulo Brazil.  In addition, just before departing, he left an apostolic blessing upon the missionaries.  Elder Richard G. Scott was on assignment to speak at both the Brazil North and Brazil South Areas Mission Presidents Seminars, as well as to create new stakes in Brazil. 

The congregation stood in quiet unison as Elder Scott, along with President and Sister Neil L. Andersen entered the auditorium. After they were seated on the rostrum, my heart leapt for joy at the sight of seeing those two servants of the Lord together.  They smiled and nodded as they caught my eye.  A few years ago, Elder Scott and Elder Andersen together had pronounced a blessing of healing upon my head in the unlikely setting of the BYU motion picture studio during the Tabernacle Choir’s recording of the Testaments music.  The mantle of power in the CTM auditorium last Friday afternoon felt identical to the apostolic power manifest in that tiny office hidden away in Provo Utah that day.  On that occasion, I was counseled to “thank the Lord everyday for His healing.”  I do, and have even more reasons to do so now.

The musical selection for the meeting was a sublime quintet arrangement of “Beautiful Savior” with three sisters and two elders (see web site Photos for details of musical number).  Elder Scott’s opening words were “I appreciate that beautiful song that set the tone for what I would like to say today.”   And it did.  The spirit was sweet and peaceful. 

Regarding the new Preach My Gospel handbook, Elder Scott warned -  “do not treat it lightly.”  Key points of his address to the missionaries included   “The old tools do not do the job in the difficult world we live in.  “This is a marvelous time of life.  You have been called to a singularly unique country.  In Brazil, leaders in government, industry, universities, businesses are church members – more so than in any other land.  The ten mission president in the Brazil North Area and the 16 in the Brazil South Area (17 with CTM President Ostergar) all “have great capability – all are outstanding.  “Give your full life to the Lord.”  Elder Scott told about himself as a young missionary saying, “I would have been more effective if I had known who I was at the first of my mission.”  Know these things about yourself:

1. 
“You are truly called by a prophet of God.”

2.  You have had hands placed on your heads, authorized to teach” (see  D&C 43:15-16)

Elder Scott shared stories of young missionaries who, through their worthiness, experienced unusual power and promptings of the spirit in their missions.

With the Preach My Gospel plan, now in effect worldwide, there will not be fewer convert baptisms.  There will be more convert baptisms, greater retention, and they will be stronger, Elder Scott promised,  “It’s going to happen!”  “There has been spiritual intervention in the content and printing of this great tool.”  This book has the tools to help you master the use of your time in your mission and in the rest of your life.  “Get it in your mind and your heart and then teach it in your own words.”

The missionaries were counseled to use the “uniformly integrated” tools, planner, etc. in setting their teaching and baptism goals.  “No more will a mission president say ‘our goal for the month is 200 baptisms,’ because goals will be set by the missionaries.”

Then, almost as an aside, Elder Scott looked at the beautiful army of missionaries and said, “I don’t know what you did in the pre-existence to qualify you to get to come to Brazil!"

                           How to Learn from the Spirit

“How do you know when you’re talking to yourself or when the Spirit is speaking?”  (He indicated that the study of Enos, Helaman 10 and Ether 12 are good references.)

1.  Respond immediately to impressions when they come

2.  Exercise faith in Jesus Christ

3.  Be diligent in keeping the commandments, including the mission rules

4.  Seek the will of the Lord - empowering yourself and others

By doing this,
you will have a “burning,” a “peace,” and a “feeling.”  Then, the “good ideas you have are then impressions of the spirit.”  Elder Scott instructed all the missionaries that this process will assist them in their marriages, their professions, etc, and that “you cannot offend the spirit and get direction from it.”   At this point, although the missionaries had already been taking notes, Elder Scott instructed – “write this down – it’s that important.”


“I will seek to learn by what I hear, see and feel.  I will write down the important things I learn and I will do them."

He described the process and warned that  “you do not control when the Lord communicates by the Spirit – you must show gratitude by writing it down

1) recognition  2) capture it in writing   3) more comes


Apostolic Blessing

Then, recognizing Elder Anderson as member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Scott ended with an apostolic blessing upon the missionaries at the CTM. 

We evoke a blessing upon you that the experience in the CTM will be rich, full, and inspiring, and that the new materials will be understood and applied.  I bless you that you can testify.  I bless you with peace of mind.  I bless you with the gift of tongues – that won’t make it automatic, but the Lord will bless you.  Fifteen men on earth have those experiences that allow them to testify as special witnesses.   The Lord, the Savior runs the church.  There are more on earth than those fifteen who know.  You can know as you pray, testify and live.


The congregation hymn to end the meeting was “Love One Another” and after the closing prayer, as Elder Scott rose to leave, he turned and looked at the missionaries for some time.  Then in Portuguese he said to them “Admirável!” - meaning “Marvelous!" 

What a perfect time to serve a mission in Brazil!

Love, Elder and Sister de Paula


   November 2004 Mission Newsletter


The plan was to actually write a November Newsletter, but what was I thinking?  Wonderful, busy days! This is how November began.
 
Monday, November 1 was our P-day.  We had planned to go out on the town but had stopped in the CTM for some insignificant thing.  Ten minutes later our lives had taken an unexpected turn.  CTM President Ostergar entered Elder de Paula’s office, looked at both of us and said, “I was just thinking about the end of April and contemplating the request for your replacements, when I thought ‘Why should we replace them?’ How would you feel about extending your mission?”  My immediate response was “How long?” and without taking a breath, President Ostergar replied “Oh, how about January 2006?”  That is the month of their release.
 
Never having turned down a request from any Church leader, my first reply was “No.”  We all realized that that plan would not be in the best interest of the missionaries and the CTM, with two couples leaving at the same time.  We gave November 1, 2005 as our “reasonable offer” and left to enjoy our P-day!
 
That unexpected change in our lives was, in reality, not unexpected.  The previous night I had had quite a discussion with the Lord: 1) thanking Him for the countless blessings our family had received during our service in the mission field and 2) pleading for the opportunity to always be found in His service and promising to be ready for any call.  I could feel that the remaining six months we had left in mission service here would pass very quickly, and I felt that there were still blessing awaiting many of our children and their families.  Meeting President Ostergar that next morning should have been no surprise at all.
 
It took a week to formulate the right words to tell our children and my dear mother. The result -  “There must still be blessings that members of our family need from our service here.”   Through the tears we knew it was true.
 

                                     Teaching on the Street Corner

Our mission is not a proselyting mission.  But on the corner between the CTM and our apartment, non-Portuguese-speaking Sister de Paula gave the first discussion to a young man who operated a churracso stand.  As I walked past him, with a few customers lingering around, I thought a smile and a quick “bom noite” would be sufficient.  He called me – “Senhora.”  I did not want to turn around, but did.  Then, looking me straight in the eye and pointing to my missionary nametag, he said (in Portuguese) – “You are from the CTM aren’t you?  I like to see those missionaries walking by.  They have light in their eyes.  Can you tell me about them?”  Can I ever!

 
In my limited Portuguese, which expanded to new heights in those few minutes, I explained what that light was and where it came from.  These clean young missionaries give up everything they know and love to come to Brazil.  They leave their families, their schooling, their cars, their music, their fun and their friends – all that they have known to bring that light to the people they do not even know.  My “first discussion” included – God loves us.  He has a plan for our happiness. That plan is not just for this very short life.  He has provided a way for families to be together forever.  I asked him if he had seen the São Paulo Temple.  I testified that the temple is the only place where his family would have the opportunity to be united after this life.
 
With people stopping by for my new friend’s grilled sausage and beef chunks on a stick, I tried several times to get out of the way while he cooked, but his urgings were for me to follow him yet closer to the sizzling grill to allow him to further absorb the story he was hearing.  I left him with a pass-along card and invited him to call the number for the Book of Mormon, promising him that it was a record of his people, not mine, and that by reading it he would find the light he saw in the missionaries.
 
On my second “visit” later that week with the man on the corner, he had one customer – a young father holding a little daughter.  Then I asked my “investigator” if he had been able to call the phone number on the pass-along card for his free Book of Mormon.  He said he had not.  At that, the young man who was sitting there waiting for his sizzling meat skewer spoke up, “I was a Mormon until three years ago.”  I asked why he was not in the church now and he replied with something like “Oh, I had to work all the time. Much work.”  My reply came immediately, but the words in Portuguese took a few seconds.  Then, pointing to his beautiful little daughter is said, “You will return to the church when you realize you want to be with her after this life.  The only way you can is to prepare to enter the temple.”
 
What had just happened was more than surprising, and I learned anew that the Lord freely provides for those who serve Him.


Meet Eddy Dos Santos
 

I first met Eddy three years ago on the campus of BYU-Idaho.  While walking with some Tabernacle Choir friends, I spotted a happy, dark-haired young man.  He just had one of those electric personalities.  I had to talk to him.  The next time I saw him was in the Tabernacle on Temple Square about a year later.  My third contact with Eddy was when I saw his name in by email inbox in November.

 
Dear Sister De Paula:
 
I'm pretty sure you won't remember me anymore (but that's okay). It's been now three years since your visit (along with the choir) to the campus of Brigham Young University - Idaho. I met you on your way to the Hart Building, the main gym where the choir along with the BYU-Idaho Men's Choir (of which I was a member then) were getting together for our first rehearsal of "Coming Thou Fount of Every Blessing. You looked at me and said hello and asked "Where are you from?" "Sao Paulo, Brazil; I replied". You said "Really. My husband is from Brazil too", and we had a quick nice conversation about your family, your missionary sons, etc. We had a wonderful concert that very night and next time I saw you again was during the April General Conference that year (2001), when the BYU-Idaho combined choir sang during the Saturday afternoon session. "Enjoy your time at BYU-Idaho", as your last words last time I saw you.
 
I'm just writing to let you know I'm enjoying my time here at BYU-Idaho and trying to make the most of it. I've been following up with your website updates and enjoying it more than you can imagine! I've been here for almost 4 years now (I'll receive my Bachelor Degree in Business Finance at the end of the Summer and transferring to Provo to start my Master) and have never had a chance to go back to Brazil yet, so your pictures, comments, and updates have made me feel a little closer to home.
 
I worked at the CTM for almost three years, first as a Teacher Instructor, and then as an Assistant Officer to the Travel Department. I miss that office, that wonderful and peaceful place, the staff and missionaries, and everything related to the CTM. President Ostergar's son, Allen, was one of the missionaries who taught me some of the discussions (accompanying the Sister Missionaries) and also the missionary who interviewd me for baptism. I love Elder Ostergar, because he was one of the best influences I had in my life. I was very young when I joined the Church, but I'll never forget the impact the demeanor and behavior of Elder Ostergar and his companions had in my life. Life has been great! Although I'm still not married (yet), I have had a wonderful life in the gospel! My family never joined the Church, but I have high hopes that it will happen someday, somehow.
 
The gospel has done so much for me. I had the privilege to serve a full time mission in Salvador, under the direction of a wonderful Mission President and his wife. Right after my mission I received a technical degree and Leadership and Management, worked for the Church, served in many leadership positions in the Church, including 3 years as a Temple Ordinance Worker in the Sao Paulo Temple. In 2001 I decided I wanted to go back to school and get a Bachelors Degree. This time I wanted to come to the Ricks College, to study Business Finance. With the blessings of God, it all worked well and I was accepted here. After arriving here, I was immediately asked to join the BYU-Idaho Men's Choir. Two months later I had the privilege to sing at General Conference. The next year we were invited again, only this time to sing during the Priesthood Session.
 
I've had the privilege to serve in many calling on campus, including some boards in charge of main decisions that affect the university in some way. I served as an Elders Quorum President the first semester I got here. Now I'm serving as an Executive Secretary to my Bishop. Last Friday I was elected STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT OF BYU-IDAHO, and I'm looking forward for another season of service to the students of this wonderful institution. This is the first time in the history of the school that a South American student was elected for this position. As you can see, I have enjoyed my time here, and I just wanted you to know that I am doing what you've asked me to do. Thank you very much for being so kind to me on my first semester here.
 
Enjoy your time at the CTM. I love that place!
 
May God bless you and Elder Paula in everything you do.  May God protect and bless you all.
 
I'll keep checking out your family and MTC websites.
 
Sincerely, 
Eddy Dos Santos
 

Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear from Eddy especially now that we are serving a mission in his home town, working with missionaries day in and day out who are preparing to teach those seeking the truth as he has done.  What a tribute to Eddy and his goals. What an example to all young people everywhere to follow a dream and work until they accomplish it!  What a testimony to the importance of t missionary work in this Church!  Again, how can we be so fortunate to be here serving a mission.

 
May the Spirit of Christ be in your holidays and in your hearts.
 

Love, Elder and Sister de Paula



  

           January 2005 Mission Newsletter


Mom's foot was run over by a car!

In an instant the sky can become an opaque gray, hammering rain to the ground.  Thunder detonates boisterously metallic, like sound effects in a cheap, old Hollywood movie.  After an outburst, the sky remains thick and black, awaiting another upheaval. Lightening explodes close by.  The sights and sounds are magnificent! The rain is welcome.  The concrete buildings and streets are refreshed.  All living things are rejuvenated.  It is summer in São Paulo.

But weather is not the only drama we experience.  Many things have happened since our November Newsletter.   Besides just being here at the CTM and working with the marvelous missionaries, always full of love and energy, we had the blessing of having family for Christmas.  My brother Scott Zimmerman, his wife Bev and our mom, Ardell Zimmerman Adamson arrived December 15 on their first trip to Brazil.  It was nice to take them to some fine restaurants, the white silky beach at Guarujá, the tourist city of Embu, attend a session at the São Paulo Temple and visit some of the many fine shopping malls in the city. 
They left for Rio on Monday, enjoyed an 11-hour tour of the sites on Tuesday, and on Wednesday had an experience most tourists do not have.  That afternoon, while walking across the street Mom did not see a car coming around the corner and walked into its path.  The driver swerved to avoid hitting her, but ran over her left foot and with the force of the tire’s rotation propelled her knee up against the fender. 

This spunky little 82-year-old didn’t think she needed to be checked for injuries, but everyone else did, including the driver of the vehicle.  He just happened to be a physician.  He got the three of them in his BMW, phoned ahead to his friend who owns an orthopedic clinic, and off they went for x-rays.  From there the ambulance ride to Saint Vincent Hospital where surgery would be performed late that night.  According to my brother – “Our mother remained her typical cheery self!”  She fell in love with the kind, competent, young doctors (taking note of the ones she wanted her granddaughters to meet) and was more than impressed with the time and care they took with her.  They were all impressed – state of the art everything!  As a matter of fact, when the surgery was over at about 2:30am the next morning, the surgeon gave Scott and Bev a ride back to their hotel near the beach.



Christmas Eve at the CTM

Well, they were back in São Paulo for Christmas Eve and were so excited to attend the annual CTM Christmas Variety Show with us.  President Ostergar reminded all of us that it used to be called the Talent Show, but after a couple years the name was changed for "obvious reasons."  But this year it truly was an enjoyable TALENT show!   Singing, guitar, Polynesian dances, percussion solo, magician, duets, groups, one-act play entitled “Dear Elder:The Musical” - all of which were quasi-professional.  It was the highlight of the Christmas happenings at the CTM.
 

Every time my brother and his wife travel, they list their “top ten” and their “bottom ten” memories.  In their nearly three weeks in Brazil – including Rio de Janeiro and Iguacu Falls, the CTM Variety Show made the top ten-list.  I’m certain that the five cancellations of their six booked Vasp Airlines flights was on their bottom-ten list.  There is not enough space on this web site to detail the events and the hours Elder de Paula spent making alternate arrangements for their travel in Brazil!  Oh, to be fluent in Portuguese!

See Scott & Bev’s marvelous pictorial journey around Brazil by clicking
HERE.


The two things Mom really wanted to do in Brazil were 1) to go to the beach in Rio de Janeiro and 2) to visit the majestic falls at Iguaçú.  She got to do neither.  The doctors determined that it would be to great a risk to travel so soon after surgery, so we got to keep here with us enjoying company all to ourselves.  Mother sees everything as an opportunity, an experience to be lived!  Even those things that would affect most people negatively, my mom, Ardell Zimmerman Adamson seizes the moment to visit with nurses and doctors about the church.  Through her radiant countenance and pleasant disposition, she shows even strangers how the gospel of Jesus Christ can shape lives in love and happiness and peace.  A smile and a hug are understood in any language.  She is forever a missionary!

On many occasions, each of our holiday visitors mentioned that they would not have chosen to experience the things that happened while they were here.  Yet, on the other hand, they saw the gracious care and time with which a doctor treats his patient.  One of Mom’s doctors held her hand for an hour before she was discharged from the hospital, kissing her check and calling her “angel” and saying he would miss her.  Mom, Scott and Bev were touched.  Mom’s fitting declaration at that moment was “I’ve got to go back home and teach my doctors how to treat their patients!  None of them have ever kissed me!”

Life at a Missionary Training Center


Thank you parents, friends and family members for sending such wonderful young men and women as missionaries to the Brazil CTM.  They capture our hearts and give us an opportunity to serve in the most wonderful calling on earth.  When our stake president received that phone call from the missionary department, he described out calls as “very exciting.”  He had no idea.  We enjoy their company.  We love teaching them the gospel principles.  We love seeing their joy of achievement.  We love the spiritual offering they bring in a musical number presented at a meeting.  We love serving them in every way.  We love them.

MTC life is demanding – the routine, the language, companions, the food, the weather, the rules.  Most struggle, very few give in.  We see the whole process time and time again, week after week.  They find out who they really are.  We honor their commitment and determination.  Sister de Paula frequently shares with them her own children’s philosophy about mission life – “At some point every missionary wants to go home.  If they say they don’t, they’re lying.”   That may be an exaggeration, but it is not far off.  So, when you receive a “down” letter or email from your missionary, just remember that he or she has to complain to someone.  You’re the lucky one!  The “trial” is usually over before you can reply.  They really learn to conquer their fears.  We see them preparing for not only their fields of labor, but for their entire lives!

How blessed we are to serve the missionaries in Brazil!

With Gratitude, Elder & Sister de Paula


                        
 February 2005 Mission Newsletter

   
                         
                                                     
   Our family, awaiting our return home

We greet you again from the Missionary Training Center in São Paulo Brazil!  The work is still exciting, the missionaries are wonderful and our time here is diminishing quickly!  We are busy with teaching in branch meetings, LGMs (large group meetings), our own seniors district meetings, speaking in Sacrament Meetings, teaching Relief Society and Priesthood and attending to the numerous other assignments that make our mission so wonderful.  A great percentage of our time is spent in studying and preparing to teach. How blessed we are!  Fortunately at all MTCs in the world, missionaries are to be
taught the gospel in their native language.  The brethren want every missionary to have a solid foundation of gospel doctrine in his or her own language before they teach it in a second language.

The branch presidencies, the senior missionaries, and all who teach the missionaries at the CTM are to teach from the new “ Preach My Gospel” missionary manual in combination with the scriptures.  Generally, the Sunday fireside speaker and the Tuesday devotional area general authority use these same powerful tools. These are the resources that the missionaries are using to learn and to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

How different from the memorized discussions of previous years!  Missionaries are learning to teach from a deep, solid understanding of the doctrine and with a powerful testimony from their hearts.  The words will be theirs, carried by the voice of the Spirit to the hearts of those who hear them.  We have been told by visiting apostles, that “now is the time for the Church in Brazil!” The missionaries are preparing and the people are ready. (See January 22, 2005 LDS Church News online at for church growth in Brazil.)

NEWEST NEWS

With two months left in 2004, we were asked to extend our mission six additional months until November 2005.  We readily accepted.  Since then, due to increasing "old age" problems it has become necessary for Sister de Paula to get two total knee replacements ASAP!  Having needed new knees for over fifteen years, and time has come . . . and past.  The doctor’s appointment is already set and we will be content with our original two-year mission call to end the latter part of April.  In the proper “time and season” we could be called again to serve another mission.  When our children and grandchildren learned that we would be released on our original date, they literally squealed and jumped for joy!  We are so thrilled to be reunited with our family!

Four of our five children have told us they are planning to leave Utah near the end of April to come and “pick up their parents from their mission!”  They want to spend some time with us here where we have served and loved the hundreds of missionaries who have come through the CTM.  They want to get a glimpse of what we do 8-12 hours a day at the CTM.  They are planning and preparing their itinerary that will surely include Curitiba, Iguaçu Falls and Rio de Janeiro!  Our children have played an important part in our ability to leave our home and family and accept an “unexpected and inconvenient” call to serve a mission.  They have kept close to us through telephone calls, emails, pictures of family and events – all those things that are so hard for parents and grandparents to contemplate leaving.  We have  been blessed.  And so have they – far more than if we had been home with them.  The Lord truly blesses the families of those who have the faith to accept the call.

 

A Touching Missionary Story
February 20, 2005

The following is a story presently unfolding at the CTM from Elder José Mario Hansen Barros, who is from northern Brazil and will be leaving Tuesday March 1 for the Moçambique Maputo Mission.  In his own words (translated by Elder de Paula):

Before joining the Church, my attachment was to the things of the world as matters regarding the Lord were of no importance to me.  Through my girlfriend’s example, I was able to get to know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Initially, I didn’t pay much attention to the things she taught me, as my bad habits were many: I used drugs and drank.
 
And though I hadn’t been raised by my mother, I was happy as I was brought up by my grandmother whom I admire very much. Perhaps it could have been better to be raised by my mother, as I very much missed that maternal love.
 
One day while leaving my girlfriend’s home, I met two missionaries at a public telephone. They were calling their mission president and I offered them a ride. On the way, they began to talk to me about the Church and asked me if I wanted to be baptized….
 
I set up an appointment with the missionaries, and little by little began to put aside those worldly things and get to know the Lord. I began to feel that He loved me very much and had prepared a plan for me. I was able to repent and was baptized leaving behind all my sins in the water. The happiest day in my life, in the life of my family and that of my girlfriend’s was the day of my baptism.
 
Life went on, I began to prepare for my mission and at the same time kept on stmother after not seeing her for 10 years. I was able to preach the gospel to her. In the words I taught her, I was able to feel the Savior’s power coming from my mouth and hands. I bear testimony that God loves me and that He has a plan for me and for my family whereby we can live with Him for the eternities. To the end of my life I will always be devoted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

 

To date, this wonderful elder's family has received the missionaries and have been taught three missionary lessons.

With much love, Elder & Sister de Paula

 

  March 2005 Mission Newsletter 

Elder Russell M. Nelson
Speaks to São Paulo CTM Missionaries
 

After nearly 22 of months serving our mission among the young missionaries at the MTC in São Paulo Brazil, we have witnessed countless examples of love and commitment, of obedience and sacrifice in these stalwart young people.  Many have arrived frightened and lonely and unsure – maybe the only member in his or her family.  Many struggle with personal doubt and fear.  Some find it necessary to leave because of sickness, lack of commitment or delayed repentance.  Many leave loving families with difficult “missions” of their own to complete.  With permission from the missionary and his parents, let me share one of these stories.  

On his third day at the CTM, Elder Trent White walked into room 8 – the Help Desk/ Mail Room/ Lost & Found/ Music Room.  “Sister de Paula, I play the violin.”  Music to my ears!  I asked Elder White to fill out a request form, told him I would locate a violin, and then get in touch with him to schedule a special musical number sometime during his nine weeks at the CTM.  What a surprise!  A new missionary, new environment, new hemisphere, new language, new food, new adjustments and this fine young man has the presence to volunteer for musical service!  

Later, between missionary duties, I happened to read a comment posted on this web site from the missionary’s parents - positive, kind, gracious comments. 
  
Comment Title: Thanks for the pictures and journal

Sis de Paula, I'll add our thanks to those of hundreds who appreciate your efforts so much. It really brings us closer to our son and his experiences there (Elder Trent White smiling in front row of 7A's picture!). Our oldest son also served in Brasil in 02-04 and was at the CTM too. We were privileged to be able to return to see Rio, SP and his mission (BH East) with him last March so getting a 2nd SP CTM missionary was great as we can relate so much better this time around to the country, people and spirit our Elder will experience. Thanks for watching out for our sons and daughters, sharing your words, taking great pictures, and keeping that important mail flowing smoothly. You truly have a wonderful, blessed calling. All the best, Kirk and Colleen White

I felt impressed to email them, thank them for their lovely comments and let them know I had met their son.  The following is their reply:

 Sister de Paula, 
 We have 7A's picture, in all its colorful glory, posted on the fridge in the Kitchen for all to see. It just brightens the whole house.  Thanks for the nice comment on Elder Trent White also (our first Elder White (Tysen) had so many other Elder Whites in the CTM and his mission, he had to, with Mission Pres. directive,  formally change his name to Elder T. White, then later to just plain Elder Tysen, to escape confusion. He came home with 3 different name badges...). Makes the mail job almost as tough as those Elder da Silva's ! We have two more Elder Whites yet to serve so who knows if we'll go 4 for 4 in Brasil?

Elder White has written all the right things back to us from the CTM about his joy, work ethic and desire which is so strong and dedicated. He has always been a focused kid but turned it up a notch when his mom was found to be terminal from her cancer last November. Their goodbyes at the airport last month were more emotional than most, as was his last Sacrament talk, as they will most likely never see each other again on this earth as mother and son.   He struggled a bit but then came to the correct conclusion that his Heavenly Father wants him in Brasil, and has plans for his mom as well, so they are both doing His will and all will be fine eternally. We are praying for the miracle but know that is in God's hands.


 With struggles come blessings though.  Through our stake President's actions, prayers and perfect timing with a scheduled visit to our Tacoma, Washington mission, Elder White has recently had the privilege of meeting briefly, then standing in the circle to assist, as Elder M. Russell Ballard gave my wife a priesthood blessing shortly before our son left for Brasil and the CTM. A very unique and humbling experience that gives Elder White a strong base and personal witness of an apostle's spirit that few young men have, to build his faith up even more.


 He will do great, as will the others there in São Paulo. Give him a smile and an arm squeeze next time you see him, and tell him he's making his mom (and Dad) so happy by his positive attitude and service.  It is odd about missions; our sons do all the work and we receive many of the blessings. What a great deal!

Take care of your knees and enjoy your last months in Brasil.
                                       

...Brother Kirk White

I read with tears flowing down my face.  Here is my reply:

Thank you so much for your touching story.  What a peaceful, yet powerful witness you have of the Lord's great plan.  I've learned through my nearly 63 years on earth, that we know so very little of the "big picture" and that this life, at longest, is faster than the snap of a finger!  What a strong family you have!  And what a wonderful connection missionary and mother will have during their service on either side of the veil.  My prayers are with you all.

Hopefully, you will see another picture of the latest Elder White in April sometime...that is if we can locate a violin!  He came in my office three days after he arrived and let me know he could play (what a gem!) and his talents will be used before our mission ends the end of April.
 
Thanks again. 
Sincerely, Sister de Paula

What strength and beauty I felt flowing from these complete strangers!  How can people face these types of things?  What is it that allows a person to be happy, positive and loving  when to those of us looking in, their trials appear devastating?

  Elder Nelson's Counsel not "coincidental"

Not by chance, on Monday, March 7, Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke to the missionaries at the CTM.  His powerful, ninety-minute talk touched many lives.   He first spoke of his recent "personal sorrow" in the passing of his beloved wife, Dantzel.   He had a weekend at home and they had planned a basketball game date.  Because the weather was not good, they decided to do a few things around the house - laundry, writing and reading. Then, as they sat holding hands and watching the basketball game “the Lord claimed her - quickly, quietly.”  How does one go on?  Then with a smile, Elder Nelson said, “I feel her foot in my back."  This apostle of the Lord said that we could have grief and sorrow at the same time. 

He then asked some provocative questions - “How do you have joy?” 

“Where does your grief come from?” 

Grief comes from two sources:
 1.  SIN - Aaronic Priesthood matter - work it out - go forward!
 2.  TRIALS OF LIFE - Melchizedek Priesthood matter – get a blessing!
 
Elder Nelson then shared a one-sentence glimpse of President Hinckley’s visit with him the day after his wife passed away.  “President Hinckley wept with me after her "transfer."  We in that auditorium could only imagine  such a tender site!  Elder Nelson said he then had to notify family members on five continents and in a bit of a raised voice and with  a firm voice he stated, "No Missionare left their posts!  That's what she would want.  There were scattered chuckes throu gh the congregation - not of humor but of understanding.  Especially from those of us who knew and loved Sister Dantzel's giant missionary spirit!

After training the missionaries, using excited volunteers from the audience, (including Elder White) in the new "Preach My Gospel" manual, Elder Nelson came back to his opening theme by reading D & C 31.  At the end of verse 5, Elder Nelson stopped.
 5 Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live.  (italics added)

Then continuing, he said,  “You may be concerned about a loved one at home.  Put your name here - ‘Your family will live.’ This has nothing to do with blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory system, etc.  "What life is this talking about?"  The room was silent as we pondered the big picture and felt gratitude to a loving Fatherand the perfect sacrifice of our Savior. 

Apostolic Blessing

Then to end the meeting, this apostle blessed your sons and daughters - “I invoke a blessing upon you that you will feast upon the doctrine of the Lord.  That you will be sweet, loving and kind and that you will have health and strength.  I bless you that to love your companions, and that you will be obedient to your mission president.  We are engaged in thethe work of the Lord.  We are sent to gather Israel. 

 

Elder White's Violin Solo

On Sunday, March 20, Elder Trent White will present a lovely violin solo - “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer." I would like to dedicate this musical prayer to the White family – who will be in our thoughts and prayers …and our hearts forever. Thank you for your strength and for your sharing your sons with Brazil.

The Lord truly loves his missionaries.  He loves them enough to send a prophet, one of the chosen Twelve to touch the hearts of His little flock of missionaries who are far from their homes and families and who have noble desires to labor in His vineyard.

Where could anyone ever find greater joy than serving a full-time mission?

Love, Elder and Sister de Paula
  


Click HERE for 2003 Mission Newsletters. 

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