Friday, August 29, 2014

First WEEK

Well this week at the MTC or CTM as it is called down here is fabulous.  The first day was absolutely terrible; after a day of 14hrs of flying and 6hrs of airplane sleep we were thrown into our first day.  There is a nice couple that greeted us...Elder Hale. The first day we had orientation, and most of it was in English which was a blessing, the Portuguese is something else.  We met our teacher Irmao Barros, he has an inspiring story.
Barros and Mellos (Instructors)

When he was a kid he grew up in the Favala, so to survive he joined a gang.  His brother was the head of the gang and they did all sorts of crazy stuff.  He told us of how they built Uzis out of a box of spare parts, and how much fun they were to shoot.  (He never told us how crazy things got, just that they were) One day he told his brother that he was out.  His brother didn't take that too lightly and so Barros thought that he was going to die that night.  And when he got home his bishop had come over.  The bishop said he prayed and that he needed to get Irmao Barros on a mission.  At first he was shocked because obviously he wasn't too worthy, but the Bishop insisted and told him it would be for the best, because God wanted him out there.  So Barros worked on his papers and got sent to the North of Brazil where he said it is 114 Degrees, so 80 and humid isn't that bad.  But his mission call literally and figuratively saved his life.  He told us if we would serve with our hearts, our lives would also be changed.

Another welcome surprise that made the first few days not total misery was that we had a little visit from Elder Holland.  Yes Elder Holland came and spoke to the Brazilian MTC on day two. Not a bad day if I say so myself.  His talk was inspiring and a little frightening.  He spoke about how Brazilian Missionaries are the best. He literally said that, so sorry guys, I have an Apolistic Stamp of approval on my mission ;) obviously he was joking, but it made us all smile.  He talked about our purpose as missionaries and how we were apart of the best work in the universe.  He also said that it would get hard, yes he knew, but we are messengers of Jesus Christ, and was it easy for him? NO, so why would we assume missionary work is easy.  WOW, that hit me hard.  I just sat and was completely humbled at that statement.  Also, that the work will go forth whether you are apart of it or not, so jump on the train and enjoy the ride, it will be good.  oh, PS I did get to shake his hand.  :)

The next few days were pretty brutal as far as "What the heck am I doing factor?" The language was hard, and the classes were long, a 16 hour day is far from easy.  The language at first was super discouraging, I honestly wanted to quit, but obviously I knew that is not what the Lord wants of me, so sorry guys, Ill see you August 2016 :)

Sunday was my favorite day by far, the Branch I am in had 4 missionaries leaving and one shared a story that made me tear up. 

It was of a son in a race, and his dad was in the crowd.  As the son started he took the early lead, and was well ahead of the pack, then he fell.  Shocked more than hurt the son laid there, his dad yelling "Come on son, get up, get running" the son hopped on his feet and ran faster and harder this time.  He had just caught up to the pack when he fell again.  Again shocked he laid there, until his dad again said, "Come on son, get up, get running" the son got up again and ran harder than ever determined to catch up again.  And he did. He caught the pack and the finish line was approaching, he ran as hard as he ever could he could see the end. Then he fell on his face yet again. With tears in his eyes he laid there, thinking what could have been, then as he looked up he saw his father at the end saying "Come to Me".  I loved this story because I wont lie, I felt as though I had spiritually fallen on my face, i was super shocked.  But this story told me that both my fathers, Father in Heaven and incredible father in Plain City are always there for me. It made me stop and yes even tear up a little.  Thanks Dad. Love you

Also on Sunday me and my companion, E Hurd studied for the entire free time period on Portuguese.  So, E Hurd is a nice fellow from Boise, and he had been just a little sheltered.   We were destined to be companions for some reason, and I think that reason is to help me learn the language. He took 4 years of spanish and Portuguese is very similar to spanish so he is way ahead of the class.  So I am trying my best and the language is starting to come.  He also has a freaky good memory.  

Oh the food here, incredible, I put on 5 lbs in like the first day haha:) the food is just way too good, always beans and rice, and for some reason, sandwiches for breakfast everyday. they also have chocolate covered frosted flakes that are to die for.  The building is just in the middle of the city, I wish I could send you pictures, but the computers don't let me.  I will show you in 5 weeks.  

Overall, I am super excited to be a missionary, the good times we have and the laughs are so much fun.  There is really only three things I will miss about the MTC: the food, seeing the 12 guys in my district every day(although 6 of us are going to Sao Paulo West), and throwing toilet paper in the toilet. Yes Brazilians throw their used paper in a garbage can. That will take some getting used to. 

As far as the gospel goes we had to teach in Portuguese on day 2. and every day since I am getting better and better. I am finally starting to be able to just talk to people without notes. It is going to be good in like 3 months when I can actually speak it. 

I love you all so much and thanks for all the support and letters.

PS i mean not that I am asking, but handwritten letters are so so so nice to get ;)
And also, letters are on their way out

Nos Amo Mutio

Elder Iverson

Monday, August 25, 2014

Jeffrey R Holland visits Brazil

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland conducts a meeting in Brazil

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland visited four cities in Brazil August 14–24—speaking to a wide variety of members and missionaries, training priesthood leaders, and visiting the Church’s Sao Paulo Missionary Training Center.

The visit was “a wonderful opportunity for all the members,” said Elder Claudio R. M. Costa of the Seventy and President of the Brazil Area. “They were very happy, grateful, and full of emotion. They felt the love Elder Holland has for them.”

During the 10-day visit, Elder Holland visited Belo Horizonte, Sao Paulo, Santos, and Rio de Janeiro—the site of a future temple in Brazil. He was accompanied by ElderRichard J. Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy and members of the Brazil Area Presidency: Elder Costa and his counselors, Elder Jairo Mazzagardi and ElderMarcos A. Aidukaitis of the Seventy.

“Brazil is on a strong, upward trajectory in terms of Church maturity,” Elder Holland said. “It has to be considered one of the strongest areas of the Church as we move into the 21st century. A large part of their priesthood leadership are returned missionaries, and a large number of their women leaders have served missions as well. It is a nation on the move spiritually.”

Members in Brazil gather to hear Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and other Church leaders.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland addresses missionaries at the MTC in Sao Paulo.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland addresses members in Brazil.

Elder Maynes accompanied Elder Holland to Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro for multistake priesthood leadership meetings. He also met with the full-time missionaries as well as new converts and members in the city of Manaus on the Amazon River.

Regarding this trip with Elder Holland, Elder Maynes said, “It was a true delight to accompany Elder Holland, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, as he fulfills the apostolic mandate found inDoctrine and Covenants 107to be ‘special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world.’ The investigators, new members, members, full-time missionaries, and leaders who attended the various meetings clearly felt the power of Elder Holland’s apostolic witness.”

Elder Costa noted that members came to meetings—even during the middle of the week—in great numbers to hear Elder Holland. “They met with Elder Holland at every opportunity. They came with great happiness in their hearts.”

Many who heard Elder Holland speak are new members of the Church; a large majority had never seen an Apostle before. Elder Costa said he received many emails from local leaders who said Elder Holland spoke to the hearts of the people.

Elder Holland held a priesthood leadership conference and a member devotional in Belo Horizonte, where he also attended a stake conference.

“With the members he talked about conversion, about having true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Elder Costa.

Elder Holland had the opportunity to meet with six mission presidents, 63 stake presidents, and five Area Seventies during a leadership meeting in Sao Paulo.

“The purpose of the meeting was to listen to them and learn about the Church here in Brazil,” said Elder Costa.

He said Elder Holland spoke to the leaders about helping the gospel sink deep in the hearts of the people to edify them spiritually.

Elder Holland also addressed the missionaries in the MTC in Sao Paulo.

He paid tribute of the late President James E. Faust, a counselor in the First Presidency, who was among the first missionaries to serve in Brazil from 1939 to 1942. He returned to live there from 1975 to 1977 while, as a General Authority, he oversaw the Church’s progress in South America. Later President Faust received the honorary title of “Citizen of Sao Paulo.”

“President Faust had a tremendous impact on me, almost like a father,” Elder Holland reminisced. “He imbued me with his great love for Brazil and Brazilians.”

Elder Holland spoke to the missionaries about his own mission experience.

“No young man was more blessed in the mission field than I was,” he said, noting that he still remembers many things he learned as a young missionary.

He spoke of a small city in England where he served as a young elder. At that time the entire region had only a few hundred members. Yet years later, he had the honor to preside over a huge stake conference where once there were so few members.

Elder Holland also visited Santos—a city with a new mission and many new members.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ means everything to me,” he told missionaries and members gathered in the city.

Some 2,000 people in Santos gathered for the midweek meeting with Elder Holland. Elder Costa said the Church members in the congregation were reverent—even the small children. “Everyone shared a great desire to be taught by an Apostle.”

Members in Rio de Janeiro are happy that the Church is planning to construct a temple in their city, said Elder Costa. “They are anxiously waiting for the groundbreaking.”

Elder Costa said Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are large cities with millions of residents. “Life is busy,” said Elder Costa. “Traffic is crazy. Sometimes it is difficult for the members to go from one part of the city to the other. But the members are very faithful. They are trying to do their best. Brazilians love Christ. They love the Church. They are faithful.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


"Sister Swensen and I are very happy to let you know that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil Missionary Training Center.  What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they begin their missionary experiences with us. We will surely take good care of your missionary."      

First Email:  
All of the guys we flew down with were very neat.  Elder Kendell, Searles cousin, was super cool and we chatted.  Then we met up with the other missionaries from Flordia, Mephis, SLC.  All great guys. 

While flying, there was a gorgeous sunset while leaving ATL sunrise as we were arriving in SP.  So beautiful. I've never seen such great clouds!! In SP there was a smog/fog/polution like I've never seen before.  Starting at 5,000 ft and going to 2,500 ft, there was a dense fog that you couldnt see a thing.  Crazy to fly and not see anything.  We arrived in SP and attempted to call you, i had no clue what the person was saying on the other line, so I gave up. Customs was good though. Barely made it... ;)

Then we met up with our contact, she led us through the airport to a very scary looking car. We all pilled in, and drove through some of the craziest traffic ever.  Super busy, and got our first glimpse of the city.  We saw it off in the distance.  Kept driving, and still saw it but closer.  And finally we exited the freeway and the city was next to us (the other side) and still going, Huge city. And the Motorcycles!!! Oh my word.  They would just fly by inbetween lanes of stopped traffic, moving traffic and lane changes.  We even saw one bike with 3 people on it?! 

It was about a 30 min drive from the airport to the CTM.  Once we arrived the nice older couple (I don't know their role yet) helped us get settled in.  We ate lunch, the apples were fabulous, they had no other fruit yet.  But the mango juice was also incredible.  They had the soda fountains with Guarana in many flavors. 

My companion has not yet arrived, so I unpacked my suitcases, I was a few hangers short. Then me and Elders Davies and Da Silva whom I am rooming with played Uno, I wrote in my journal, and are getting ready for lunch.  One elder who was eating at the same time came and talked to us, and assured us of the great times that would ensue.  I cannot wait.  I am still in shock I am actually here.  I have my name badge and everything. Classes don't start until tomorrow. I am excited to learn Portuguese and communicate with everyone. 

The people are lovely, everyone at the CTM has been so nice, minus the weird looks for having a blue sticker on my badge. I am not sure what day P day is, but as soon as I know I'll let you know and email you again.
Tell everyone thank you for the cards, they were all faboulus and I am saving all of them. Also tell Ellee that her envelope was so good, all the cards are in that, sitting in my desk.  Thanks for all you have done for me, and I more than prepared both physically and spiritually because of you.

Eu Amo Voces 
(I think thats right;) 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Words to Tender to Speak


The Day of Reckoning

Not sure we ever thought this day would come, but the day has finally arrived to begin the mission.  Jace has looked forward to this for 18 years and it is finally here.  It was a bittersweet moment as we said our goodbyes in the Salt Lake airport, but we are all very excited and happy for this new adventure. He is to report to the Sao Paulo, CTM tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.

Love Jett's face in the back!

Power in the Iverson

Sister Wheeler, was sweet enough to take a group picture of these cute elders gathered in the Atlanta airport waiting their flight to Sao Paulo.  So grateful of the tender mercies of the Lord and for friends in the gospel who listen to the still small voice. It was  a comfort to see Jace with a smile on his face and friends around him.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hard to Say Goodbye

Good friends are so hard to leave behind.  It is comforting to know they will all soon be out serving the Lord.  Such an amazing group of friends.

Even Elder Deaton made it to the farewell party.  We were thinking about Elder Wallace and Elder Nielsen as well.  Elder Wallace is on his way to Cape Verde and Elder Nielsen in Argentina.

Jace had great support at his setting-apart.  President Schumers gave him an amazing blessing.