Thursday, June 19, 2014

Elder Jonathan Engle 06/19/2014 Zion at Last

Zion at Last

Dear People of Earth,

There´s been a lot of changes in my life the past few days, to say the least. I was in Caxias, one of the poorest areas in our mission, and I´ve been transferred to São Luis, specifically an area that is one of the richest in the mission. Definitely this area specifically is the richest... It´s insane.

World Cup Update:
As predicted, the World Cup in Brazil is insane. People throw lots of bombs in the street during the games to celebrate. Everyone loves it or hates it. It´s been intense and we´ve watched quite a bit of it. The U.S. scored in the first 24 seconds against Ghana. That´s awesome! Yeah, when everyone we visit is watching the Cup, we tend to learn what´s up.

Interesting Stats:
I lost 25 pounds while in Caxias.
I´m currently with my 15th companion, Elder Engstrom from Colorado.
This is my 5th area.

I´ve been thinking a lot about our gift of agency lately. When we truly understand the relationship between actions and consequences, we can make the decisions that we need to, to do God´s will. I love 2nd Nephi 2 and encourage everyone to ponder how we can use our agency to better further the work of our Father in Heaven.

God bless you all.

Elder Engle

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Elder Jonathan Engle 06/11/2014 Howdy Doody

Howdy Doody

Howdy Doody from Elder Engle of the Brazil Teresina Mission! I hope all´s well in the Rocky Mountains in the good ol´ US of A! It´s hard to imagine how fast time´s past for me. It´s challenging to write this in English, but I figure Brother Wright and Brother Fox shouldn´t be the only ones to understand this letter.

It´s challenging to communicate the experience of a mission. I´ll do my best to share a few scatter-brained thoughts:

We always have room to progress. Until the day that we become perfect, we´re constantly lacking something that we need and following something that we shouldn´t. Until we are perfect like our Savior, Jesus Christ, we always have something to change. I really felt this when I arrived in Brazil. I stopped speaking English and devoted everything to learning Portuguêse. It was really challenging, faulting six months since being in the MTC in Provo. As I devoted so much time to the work, I made more and more mistakes, most of which were quite hilarious. Although, bit by bit, I am able to use the language of Portuguêse to fulfill my purposes here. I really came to learn that the gift of tongues is a gift based on our willingness to sacrifice; to sacrifice what English I had to learn Portuguêse. Ever since deciding to do that, the Lord´s given me the capacity to speak as necessary for our work.

I understand so much better what God wants from us: our will. When we give our will to be His will, that´s when we see miracles. That´s the key to happiness in this life. When we act contrary to the will of God, we hurt our spirits because of the light of Christ within us, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

I have a testimony of the power of prayer, not only in our prayers but in the prayers of others. I´ll never forget the Jones family in New Mexico. They were praying as a family to bring God back into their lives after lots of hardships and trials. The next day, the missionaries showed up! The next week, I showed up in that area. I had the joy of teaching them and baptizing them. They never had any big doubts and were really prepared by the Lord. When they moved from where they were originally baptized, the Lord already had friends waiting for them in Oklahoma, ensuring that they would stay strong. Teaching experiences aren´t always like this. Although there are people like the Jones family throughout the world, really well-prepared to accept the Gospel, often times it´s a gradual process cultivated by a lot of WORK, FAITH and LOVE in order to bring to pass a miracle in someone´s life, the miracle of change.

I love to reflect on the classic Mormon cliché that the mission is the best two years, because it really is. It´s such an amazing experience. I forget words that would describe how I feel about my mission. For two very, very short years, we get to focus entirely on the work of the Lord. Working all day every day, my testimony is simple but strong. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that God is our Father in Heaven. I know that They´ve prepared a way that we all can follow, we only have to accept it. I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real, because I experience it in my life daily, changing me step by step. I´m thankful for the Holy Ghost as my constant companion. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ is restored in these days and that President Thomas S. Monson is our Prophet, Seer and Revelator, directed by Jesus Christ.

There are many converts in a mission, but without a doubt, the greatest convert of my mission, is me.

Elder Engle

Boa sorte em seus deveres e bom trabalho meus queridos. Até mais!

[Translation: Good luck in your duties and good work my loves ones. Until later.]

Elder Jonathan Engle 06/11/2014 Life Is Still Crazy Here in Brazil

Life Is Still Crazy Here in Brazil

Dear People of Earth,

Life is still crazy here in Brazil. I almost forgot it was my Birthday last week, but it turned out well. In general, we had a lot of birthdays in our branch. One was really funny. A member announced during Gospel Principles that he´d have a party Friday night at 7pm the next week. We planned to show up and everything and he arrived 8:30pm. It´s a miracle that we stayed for him. He also said that in June he remembered that he had forgotten about his birthday which was in April, so he decided to have it then. It was a lot of work, but hey, cake is cake!

We´re really seeing continually that this is the Lord´s work and not ours. This Sunday we worked so hard to have non-members at Church. The Lord provided one man who came, but provided 5 less-active members. One family is really overcoming a mountain of obstacles. It´s a simple miracle of seeing the Atonement work in their lives. I´m just simply grateful for the simple blessings the Lord gives us when we do our part.

Elder Engle