Monday, January 26, 2015

SHOES FILLED WITH ROCKS BUT I KEEP ON GOIN'!


Hi Family!

Life in South America is great as always! A party every day :D Lately it's been raining like crazy here in Macapá.  I'm going to start bringing that rain jacket with me everyday! Sometimes it doesn't work so well because when I put it on I sweat like a monster...(do monsters sweat?). If it doesn't end up working well I will have to buy an umbrella. What we do here is put all our things inside our bags inside plastic grocery bags to keep the stuff from getting wet. 

I recently bought new boots. My old ones were getting just a little bit old and ruined :D (I'll have to send a picture to you guys...I found 39 little rocks that were inside of my shoes at 1 time!). But now these new shoes should help me to stay dry and comfy! I hope....They were only 40 Reals (20$). 


Here are some pictures from our week:




An awesome lunch with some of my favorite members!



We baptized 2 very special people this last week! 







K is the other woman. She is a neighbor of one of the members. Her story is actually really unique and we were able to exercise the priesthood in our first visit. Being worthy is an important thing! I'll tell you more about that experience in a voice recording. 





Love you all!

Elder Carson Gale

Monday, January 19, 2015

~THESE FAMILIES ARE MY FAMILY~

Hey Family! I'm here from Macapá...again :D

We had some spiritual moments this week. There are 3 really special families in our teaching group with whom I have developed a special friendship. 

Let's start with F and L:
This family is just perfect!  Like seriously, they are so cute and lovable and I really want to baptize them. Actually, I really want to baptize her. F was baptized about 13 years ago as a young man, but when he traveled to Belém to finish his police military training, he lost contact with the church. When he came back, his family wasn't active any more in the church and he stopped going. 

He became active in an Assembly of God nearby. About 6 months ago he stopped going to the Assembly and we met him on the street and he gave us a ride home. We went to visit them and since then he has gone to a church party and 2 church services. 

This week we went to visit them to challenge them to marry, and they were preparing to move--a Mormon Specialty! So we called up the Elder's Quorum President and a nearby member and we were able to practically complete the move for them.  I'm super excited to see them progress. And I want very much to be here for their wedding. 


Then there is N, M, D & G:
This is a mom and her 3 girls. Actually she has 7 children but we are getting to know all of the family still. They are funny because they have so many questions! But they already love us so we're definitely going to baptize them. One of the girls is visiting another church, but I don't think that will be a problem. They visited this Sunday and it seemed like they really liked the service. 


Last but not least is J and M: 
I think I might have spoken a bit about this family before. They are hilarious. He is completely funny, drinks, smokes, and works organizing parties and sound systems. And their family is really sweet. They have 3 daughters. They've already visited church 3 times, so now they are just needing to marry to progress.  

If I could, I would gladly stay the rest of my mission here in Santa Rita. I would love very much to see the Chapel opening in May. I can't believe I won't be here to see it!  It will be a very special moment for everyone. That's the difficulty about being a missionary...that we make so many friends and the families here become our families for a little bit. 

Almost all the families we visit I develop a habit of calling them my family...because for this moment they are my family. I'm already planning on doing some special things this next month when I have to leave them. 

I love you guys! I hope everything is going well with the family!

Elder Gale

Monday, January 12, 2015

5 TRANSFERS IN ONE AREA!

I have really exciting news for you guys about the transfers....



Are you excited?...



Are you ready?....



After 6 months and 4 transfers in the same area and the same zone with 4 different companions....



I WILL STAY 1 MORE TRANSFER IN THE SAME AREA!!! 


It looks like the flight passages were pretty expensive because I will officially stay 5 transfers (that is 30 weeks--7 months!) in the same area. I've already seen missionaries stay the same amount of time in the same zone, but I never saw them stay so long in the same area. 

I'm sure there are some areas where this would be sad or discouraging and some missionaries that would prefer to see other parts of the mission, but I am so happy to stay here in Macapá-Santa Rita. I really believe it is the best area in the mission. The members are so involved in the missionary work, and I love my recent converts. They are so excited and fantastic. Our investigators are also really strong right now. Finally we were able to revamp our teaching pool. 

So I know there are lots of things that still need to happen here in this area....Until now I have baptized 21 people in this ward, and my goal is to leave with 30 baptisms in this area. I think I'll have practically baptized a branch here :D It won't be easy, but I think it's possible. All of this is leading the ward to the Chapel opening in May and I believe the ward will split. We'll see what we can do. 

I love all of the sacrament meetings here because I can see the recent converts accepting callings, making comments in the classes, and integrating other investigators. I love receiving the sacrament by one of the young men I baptized and I am just waiting for one of them to give a talk in church.

I am very proud of the progress of the ward. A long time ago, when they had a chapel, they had about 170 people at church each week. When the chapel was put in construction, they went down to 80, which was pretty scary. That number continued for several months and never went higher than 115. When I got here I believe we were at a medium of 100. It's been a pleasure to see the progress since then. The members worked hard with us and now we are at a medium rate of 140 people at church. This last Sunday I believe it was around 160. ALL the seats were full in our house. The members are getting excited for the opening of the chapel, we just need to continue with that excitement. 

It's a pleasure to serve here in Santa Rita. If I could, I would gladly finish my mission here in this area. The field is white and ready to harvest! He that embarks in the service of God with all his heart, might, mind, and strength will not perish, but bring salvation to his soul!

I hope to qualify myself to this work developing Christ's attributes of faith, hope, charity, and love. Looking only to God's glory and not to mine. I have seen lots of success in this ward but I know that by my hand nothing is possible, and by the hand of God the possibilities open. I know that if we ask something of God,and it is a righteous desire, God will give it to us. If we knock, the door will be opened. (D-C 4). 

There is so much to do before June. I know I have to take advantage of this time because afterwards, I won't be able to return. The time that I have with this nametag is so very limited.

I also know that the greatest thing I can do here on my mission isn't to baptize and convert others, but to see the real conversion in my own heart. God has a special love and plan for each one of us and we are His children. Our purpose here is to live His gospel and see the change in our lives and in our hearts. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ is the only perfect and absolutely true church on this earth that has power and authority to complete the ordinances of salvation. And I know that every single one of the ordinances are in vain if we don't fulfill and keep them. Our goal is exaltation, to one day be like Him.

Trabalharemos hoje na obra do Senhor!
(Work today in the Lord's work!)

Called to Serve, 

Elder Gale

Carson's voice recording this week:

Monday, January 5, 2015

MIRACLES HAPPEN!

Happy 2015 to everybody! 

This is my last year on the mission and it's time to give it my all for the final stretch of the race! I have about 6 months left and I'm determined to not waste a minute of it. 

This next week is transfers, so there's a chance I'll be transferred from Macapá. If I am transferred, it will be a very sad day...I've grown really close to the members here in Macapá. I've been here for 6 months already and I think I know everybody here, even the dogs on the street. I've seen many people baptized in my time here, and it's a pleasure to see my converts passing the sacrament, bearing testimonies, and receiving callings. 

This week was really an awesome experience for me of how the Lord rewards our efforts and how we really aren't capable to do this work by ourselves. I've been thinking a lot of myself recently, because of the baptisms and the activities, and everything, so it was good to have a bit of a challenge. Our area was really struggling on the new year. It's a hard time to work here in Brazil because nobody wants to hear about God on the new year, and everybody's drunk. 

So we were trying to teach lessons and find new people, but it wasn't working. Nobody was listening to us. And basically we already baptized our teaching group so we were left without anybody to teach. After you've stayed in an area for a long time, you start to feel like you already know everybody. I was starting to get a bit discouraged. Even so, we left house on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day to try to find people. Everything fell through. The investigators that we did have were all drunk or traveling, or both. 

We were able to teach one woman about the Book of Mormon before New Year's Eve, and it was a really great lesson...until the commitment. I asked her if she was willing to read a specific chapter in two days and she refused. She said "I'll read it afterwards...it's just that...I'm going to be really drunk over New Year's. Really Drunk".  I said, "But there is 70 hours until the Thursday! We are just asking for 10 minutes!"   And she just looked at me and said, "But I've already bought the alcohol". 

So that was our day on New Year's. We spent New Year's Eve playing Monopoly and messing with the Rubix Cube. (I won't tell you what my new high score is, but Ben had better be practicing :D). 

But anyways, I was pretty less than excited for the work. We had worked hard, but by ourselves we weren't able to have results. 

I had to leave the area for a couple days. A city close by, Santana, started a new group in the area so I went there for 3 days to supervise the opening. Elder Prado stayed here with a young man. It was a great adventure! I worked with a different missionary each day, and we visited a ton of less actives. On Sunday we had our first meeting in a small shack-looking thing. There were 41 people, so it was a great success! There were inactives that went for the first time in years to church!

Anyways, it was time to return to my area and I wasn't too excited. Our sacrament meeting had already started in Macapá and it was pouring rain. I ended up just walking in the rain to the meeting. So you can imagine the feeling of getting there, soaking wet, expecting nothing. 

It ended up being a really special experience for me. I walked in on several miracles. 

1. One of our recent converts brought a family of 6 to church for us to meet and teach. 

2. Another really special family we were teaching went to church alone (normally we go pick them up).

3. One of our ancient families we were teaching (and had stopped teaching because they weren't progressing) said they wanted to be baptized.

4. All of my recent converts were there. 

5. Almost all of them bore testimony and spoke about how greatful they were for our service. THAT was a really special moment for me. I shed a tear or two. 

6. We ended up with 10 investigators at Sacrament Meeting when I thought we would have 0.

I know the Lord blesses us when we work hard. There are things we don't have control over, but if we do everything in our power the Lord will make up the rest. In my own power I am not able to do anything. It is the Lord who blesses us with the miracles. 

I love you guys. This Church is perfect and true and living. Don't forget that! The work of salvation is hastening, and each one of us has to participate!

Elder Gale