Friday, November 2, 2012

Jake returns home for medical treatment...

Jake called us on Monday, Aug. 13, 2012 and informed us that he would be coming home. He would leave Sao Paulo Brazil on Aug. 15 and arrive in the US on Aug. 16 in the Portland Oregon airport.

We enjoyed the day with good friends and family! So glad Natalia and Jeff Gibson were visiting from Utah that week! We felt like it was an answer to prayers to have them here with us when Elder Firl returned home! We had a simple and nice lunch while Elder Firl shared lots of stories from his mission! Later that day he was officially released from his mission by President Randall, of the Vancouver Washington North Stake. We then celebrated by going to Red Robin for a cheese burger...Jake hadn't had one of those for 14 months!

Not doing any better...coming home

Aug. 16, 2012...I wanted to compete the blog.
1. So did you have the baptism of Santiago & Milena?
Well they were not baptized... we decided to mark the whole family together. We're having a hard time getting the new bishops trust. He doesn't want our investigators to to go less active when I leave. So he is really resistant for us to baptize. But we are doing our best!

2. How is the doctor coming along with reading the Book Of Mormon?
He isn't reading. He decided to read Romeo and Juliet. But I bore my testimony of that book, that he needs to read it.

3. So do you spend a lot of time sleeping during the day?
Yeah I usually have to take a break from working because the meds make me so tired. And it's not safe to be in the street with I'm tired and dizzy. Haha I almost fall asleep in all the lessons. The only thing I've been able to do is keep our teaching group. To find people makes me so tired and I can't really think straight at times. So usually we have to go back to home to sleep. And I get headaches. But usually when I'm tried I still work. But if the headache comes on, I go back because it's a pain to walk back.

4. I am assuming there isn’t much change in your jaw. Have they tried to pop it back into place?
Well... there hasn't been any change in the jaw really. Today I'm going to call and we are going to talk about it. I will have an interview with President Pinho today. He sent me an email and said he has received a letter from the First Presidency, giving me the news. I was very sad... but at the end President stuck a little note at the end. But we will talk. I already told him my opinion and that I want to stay. He told me to pray about it. I said I wanted to stay and do treatment down here, I told him I would use my college fund to pay for it. But he told me to pray. So I prayed and studied about it, before I received the email from him about the results.

But before, I want to bare my testimony that my mission means everything to me. And the the Prophet and First Presidency are men called by God. And President Pinho has been called by God. Their decision is truely inspired by the Lord. I gave everything on the mission. Everything. My mission has been the best thing in my life and thats why I told President my opinion. I love the work and this country. The people of the country and also the language, even though its super hard. I found my answer when I was studying the scriptures. For the past four days I have been praying to receive a solid answer. I was readying my blessing and felt something, but I wanted more than just a feeling. I did find my answer, in 2 Timothy chapter 4:6-8. I knew in that moment what my Heavenly Father thought of me. And what I have done has been accepted in the eyes of the Lord. And will be blessed. I do my best everyday I talk and feel the Lord comforting me. It has been a miracle.

5. Do you get up and try and do your missionary routine and go out and then come home and sleep after lunch?
Look I do everything. I study I do my exercises go to lunch and go to all the appointments that we have challenged the people. Usually I just feel a little sleepy, and some days I get a strong headache that lasts for an hour or two. If its super bad I go home to rest for the rest of the night. But usually I'll sit in the chapel to wait for the headache to pass. But like I told President Pinho, I can do almost everything. It's just really hard with the meds. Thats why I didn't like the answer. Because I can still do a lot most of the time. Like I said, I have given it my all and I know that God is real, and that he helps those he serves. I know that I am a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.

6. Have you lost more weight? Are your clothes falling off of you?
Not sure, I think I have gained a little. I've been eating really well lately.

7. Is your new apartment pretty good? Its closer to the church right?
We haven't gotten the apartment yet... something didn't work out right. Urgh, darn those secretaries. haha

8. Is your ward mission leader helping you find people to teach?
He is awesome. He has been helping us so much!

9. Is the ward feeding you guys?
Oh yeah! They are so good. They have stopped giving us really thick meat and what not because of my jaw. The ward is SO good!

10.Have you had to use your coat? Has it gotten cold?
No its actually super hot!

Mom I will call at 2. I don't know how the interview will be. But I have my answer and it seems the FirstPresidency has their answer as well.

I had a neat experience when I asked in prayer. If this is the answer, will a look back with regret, the answer was the first thing. My mission means everything and has moved my life.

I'll call to give more details and we will see what happens. But I love you guys and I love the Lord with all my heart. I love this mission and everything it has done for me. We will talk later. Love you all!

beijinho pra todo mundo!

até daqui apouco

com amor,

Elder Firl

Monday, August 6, 2012

update on jaw...

I feel so blessed to have contact with someone from the church, that can explain things. As the communication from Elder Firl is only partial of what is happening.

Sent from Elder Jones on 8/2/2012 @12:01PM

Hello Again from Brazil,

I have spoken with your son, Elder Firl, today and discussed the results of his recent visit to the doctor, a specialist in TMJ. This last doctor agreed with the first doctor's opinion that the condition is indeed TMJ syndrome. He would be happy to treat the condition over the next several months with a custom made mouth piece (bite plate) and frequent visits back to be checked. However, the problem is the cost of $2000.00 and the frequent visits. Elder Firl is currently getting some relief from a medication call Tandrilax, which has a muscle relaxer, an anti-inflammatory, Tylenol and Caffeine. The Tandrilax does make him sleepy so I am not sure how long he can stay on that particular med.

I am in discussions with the mission president and thinking about various options. Elder Firl is out of pain and having no headaches at the present time and we will see if the medication will have a lasting effect or temporary. I think that you will be hearing from your son on Monday, P day. Otherwise I will keep you posted on his progress.

Thanks, Elder Jones.

I emailed Elder Jones back to let him know I got Elder Firl a mouth guard made & that it was in the package I sent him a month ago. I needed to know if he had received his package. He replied back 8/2/2012 @ 5:00PM

Hello Sister Firl,

Good news, the mouth guard has arrived and Elder Firl will start using it tonight.

I don't know the specifics of the Brazilian doctor's treatment plan other that the mouth guard or bite plate. This doctor is over an hour and a half travel time from Elder Firl's apartment and the doctor wants him to come back twice a week, so the problem is more than just the cost of the treatment. If is very difficult to complete this type of treatment here in the mission field.

So the current idea is to try to find something that will be more convenient. For now we will go with the dental tray that you sent, the current medication (Tandrilax), and find a local dentist that can adjust the tray and follow his progress.

Elder Jones

Baptism next week!

1. So does the mouth piece fit?

So the mouth guard does fit. I have been using it every night. But it doesnt seem to be doing anything. Which is kinda a bummer.

2. How is your jaw feeling this week? Do you think the mouth guard is helping?
Haha the mouth guard doesn't seem to be working. Which kinda sucks because I was hoping it would.

3. Are you going to start treatments? Or are they going to see if this mouth guard works with a local dentist?
Well were just gonna try this mouth guard to see if it does something. If not we will see other options. But it's looking like the options are getting pretty thin. But whatever happens, I know that everything will work out. I had a pretty interesting experience this week while I was reading my patriarchial blessing. There is a part that talks about the mission and that I would be prepared. But the thing is, is that I never noticed a small detail. It seemed to be an answer to my prayers. But the thing is it doesn't say mission. But rather missions. Not saying I'm coming home. Not at all. But the fact that Heavenly Father has a plan for me and it's in his hands and whatever happens... happens. I have done all that I can do and Heavenly father is doing his part.

4. How is Joice & her family doing? I know you said their baptism date is Aug. 12 how cool! How many are in her family?
Well they didn't go to church yesterday because her baby was sick. So her kids didn't go. But Santiago and Milena are ready to be baptized. I told them that the dad wasn't ready yet and that more time would be needed. And I thought it would be cool to baptize the whole family. So, make the suggestion to Joice and she was like WHAT!!!! Let's do the baptism this week. Next sunday! Let's baptize Santiago and Milena and then we can baptize Jose, her husband and Rafaela, her daughter, together on the 26th. Haha I was like... alright. So I'm pretty sure we will have a baptism this Sunday! Heck yeah!

5. When you saw the doctor again, did he have more questions about the Book Of Mormon? You are so great to make that into a missionary opportunity! Just love you!
No he didn't have any questions because he didn't read. But after he gave me the damage with how much the treatment and what not, I just about died. And then I died when he said the health plan will not cover it. Which means I would have to pay for everything out of my own pocket if I would do the treatment. But I did tell him to read the Book Of Mormon because it's price is well more than Romeo and Juliet, since that was his excuse for not reading. And than this book means everything to me. And we just left.

6. So what was the name of the person that you found by knocking on doors? I think you were setting up another appointment with her…did things work out? Are you teaching her?
Her name was Iracema, but we stopped by again and she lost interest. sad...

7. Hope you found everything in the package you needed! Hope the sweat pants fit!
I did :) Everything worked out just fine! thanks for everything! :) I loved it, and the ball has been an awesome toy in the house. haha

8. Where is Elder Amorim from in Brazil? Is he the first to go out in his family? How many are in his family? I am so glad he is so understanding with your condition!
Well he is from Brasília. He is not the first to go out from his family. He is actually the 3rd one to go out. He is pretty understanding. The working agenda is pretty light. Because at times, the meds just wipe me out and I seem to get pretty out of it after the second dose it get pretty out of it. But other days it seems to work just fine and we go and work out butts off.

9. Do you need anything else? I will try to get another package together.
Well let's just hold off on the package for now. I wanna get a report on what's gonna happen.

10. Are you teaching anyone new?
No. It's been really hard to find people with little energy I have. But we have been maintaining the people we do have. So that is good!

Anyways, I hope everything is well! Keep up the good work! I love you all!

Com amor,

Elder Firl

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Getting treatments for my jaw...

1. Did you get my package? Does the mouth guard fit?
I haven't seen the package yet. But this Thursday were going to the office to get we shall see.

2. How far do you have to travel for your treatments?
Oh man, it takes forever to get there. Distance it's not very far. But with traffic all day everyday it takes awhile to get there. But we go to vila mariana. It's a nice little place, but you have to take 3 busses to get there. Hahaha and the street is HUGE!!! It's pretty sweet.

3. Is the doctor LDS?
No. But he is reading the Book of Mormon. I talked to him on the first visit. He had a few questions and I hope he felt the spirit. He asked me, "Is the work hard?" I said oh you have no idea. And he goes, "really?" And I said yes. But it's all worth it! You see miracles and we know our message is true. He is reading the Book of Mormon. I'll be sure to ask him if he is reading. Haha I already told him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We will see how it goes tomorrow.

4. Have you been able to still do missionary work during this?
Yes. I've been taking meds to keep me going. The muscle relaxers are helping quite a bit. I get SUPER tired but when we are in the street I am able to stay awake. Haha the meds are pretty strong. But it's a lot better than feeling a lot of pain.

5. How are things going with training?
It's awesome! I love it! Elder Amorim loves learning and asked a lot of questions. It's pretty sweet. We study a lot more, but its nice!

6. Things going good with your new companion?
Things are going excellent! He loves to work and is always asking me if im alright. So no worries. I'm in good hands!

7. Are you teaching anyone new?
We did have a sweet expereince this week. We were knocking doors and nobody was home on the street. We kept knocking and what not and came to a house that let us in. The lady let us in and said she only had 10 minutes or less. I said alright our message will be really quick. Went in, we didnt really have much time to break the ice with her. Just to know what religion she was and if she works and what not. She out of work and so I told her we have a program that will help her and what not. and that the next visit we would explain more, just to make another visit right on the spot. Then we explained about our purpose really quick. About baptism and what not. It was SUPER quick and as we were wrapping everything up. She just started to cry. I asked her if she was alright and what not. she said yes and wanted another visit. elder amormim asked. is that normal. Hahaha I said, that's what you call a miracle. We taught so quick and it seemed so horrible with teaching tactics and what not but we wanted to help her and bore testimony. It was an excellent experience. We will stop by this week to see how things will go with Iracema.

8. Did anyone show up to church this week?
Joyce and her family went to church! OHHH YEAH! They all loved church and they are excited to be baptized!!! August 12 they will be baptized! heck yeah!

9. Did you do service this week? If so what was it?
Well we really didn't have much time since we had doctor appointments and what not.

10. So are the treatments helping? What kind of things are they doing? Do you have a splint?
I'm just taking meds, stronger meds to keep me going. It's kinda hard to put a splint on a jaw. But we did take a ton of X-rays! So that was good. We will go tomorrow to get the x-rays and to get the status and the plan of treatment!

11. Anything new happening?
Other than teaching and going to doctor appointments, nothing much. I'm just taking advantage of every minute. The time is really short.

So it sounds like things are going well in Utah and sounds like a blast. Everyone here is watching the Olympics, haha so we get a quick glimps of what is going on. But things are excellent here. Don't worry about the jaw, I am in good hands. Things are going a lot more smoothly. So no worries. I love you all and thanks for all the support!

com amor,

Elder Firl

Tender Mercies of the Lord...

After hearing Elder Firl passing out on the bus and having two dislocated jaws, my mind kept wondering what could I do to help him? I have spent a lot of time praying and I felt like I needed answers and I was beginning to worry. I am sure many of you have felt the same thing when you have read Elder Firl's letters.

The tender mercies of the Lord this week while I was at Utah at the Jesperson Family Reunion...
My Cousin John Jesperson returned home from serving as Mission President in Guadalajara with his dear wife Diana. They only stopped by the reunion for a short time and I got to spend some time with him and asking him questions and in return both of them comforted me with their words and also with getting me in contact with the Church's IFR(the church only has 10 of them in the whole world). And the IFR sent me this message that same evening.

Friday 7/27/2012 @ 7:30PM
Sister Firl:
I managed to contact Dr. Jones, the Area Medical Advisor, in Sao Paulo. I explained the situation with your son and first thing in the morning he'll find out what's going on and let both of us know. Then we can decide how to help your son.
Ed Platt, IFR
Missionary Department

So when I woke up in the morning I found this email from the Brazil Medical Representative...I just this was the information I was needing to calm my spirit and give me comfort. I felt so blessed that the Lord knew what I needed and put people in my path to help me...thank you Heavenly Father for hearing my prayers and answering them!

Saturday 7/28/2012 @ 6:00AM
Hello Sister Firl,

I have spoken with your son, Elder Firl, and he is under good medical care. Currently seeing a specialist who deals with TMJ syndrome and other jaw problems. Elder Firl as you know has had some pain and discomfort in the Temporomandibular joint for several months and in recent weeks the problem has been getting worse and causing generalized headaches. He has an appointment next Tuesday with the TMJ specialist to review all the X-rays and MRIs and recommend a treatment plan. At this point we don't know what that treatment will be, but surgery is not part of the discussion at this point and you can be sure that it would be unlikely that he would ever have surgery here in Brazil. The condition is usually treated with some kind of mouth splints or bite plate.

Today is the first contact that I have had with your son, but I can send you additional information after Tuesday regarding his condition and treatment.

Thanks, Elder Jones
Brazil Area Medical Adviser

I now have a more clear picture of what Elder Firl is going through and what kind of things they are doing for him.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Both jaws are dislocated...

1. Alex wanted to know for EFY did you ever do the variety show? If so what was it? And what year was it?
No I never did anything. I wanted to dance in front of everyone but I never had the guts to do it. And I was too lazy to try out. Haha I just depended on my flirting powers to get the ladies.

2. Did you get my package?
No yet. I think it will come in this week.

3. How is your jaw this week?
Haha no comment. I don't think you wanna know what happened this week.

4. Did you get the CT scan of your jaw or tomografia?
Yea I got the tomografia, and I have been putting ice on my jaw and what not. The pain has gone down but I can't open my jaw a lot still. I put heat and then ice after.

5. How is Joice & her family doing with the gospel? Are they progressing?
They didn't go to church again. How annoying! They promised again! We called and went to get them. I think were gonna drop them because they live super far from our area.

6. How is Miguel and Lucia doing?
Well Miguel went to church but we went back and he dropped us. He said he doesn't want the responsiblity, and things to that sort. We explained about the blessings and what not. He doesn't want to get involved with anything. We explained about searching the kingdom of God first and what not but he dropped us. It was really hard. Elder Amorim, my son... he was like, hey is it usually like this when people drop you. Haha I said no.

7. When do you start training the newbie? Do you know who he is? Where he is from?
I started on Tuesday! I have Elder Amorim. He is from Brasilia! He is way legit. I'm pretty excited that he is my son. I just feel bad we haven't been able to have a normal day and work 100 percent.

8. Does this mean that the other elders in your apartment will be transferred too?
Elder g. Silva was transferred. But thats ok. This time I have the Brazilian in the house. haha its pretty sweet. Elder g. Silva taught me a lot of expressions in Portuguese and what not. Haha and funny things.

9. Have you seen Sara again? She is very nice and messages me on FB.
I haven't seen her for awhile, I did see her dad at transfers. I gave him a big hug and what not.

10. Any new investigators?
For now.... no. things have been very busy. I'll explain later.

11. Anything new happen this week?
Haha oh you have no idea.

12.So do they eat dog out there or guinea pig?
No that's so gross. Haha dog would be horrible. I think they eat that stuff in the north but here in Sao Paulo, everything is normal. Just a lot of rice and beans!!!! It's my love.

13. Do people grow their own gardens? Or just buy them in the market?
I think everybody gets their stuff in the market. Usually they have flee markets and farmers markets to buy fruits and what not really cheap. Because there isn't space to plant a garden since usually there are 3 houses stacked on top of each other.

14. What do people do there when it is in the winter and rainy? DO they still play soccer or do people become hermits like here in the NW and stay indoors and don’t go anywhere?
Usually they stay inside or there are some people who get umbrellas and go in the street. But usually people stay inside. this makes knocking doors really hard because people just wont answer the door.

15. So what do you want to do in Cali if we go there as a family? Disneyland? They opened up a new land at California Adventure, Cars land! We will have to save our pennies!!!
Well this time I want to go to the zoo and I want to go to the beach. I want to see what cali is really like. And well the roller coasters, or russian mountians in Portuguese, at Knotts Berry Farm. But we shall see... things are interesting right now. just keep everything on hold about home.

But anways, this week was an adventure. Just to spare all the details. DO NOT GET FREAKED OUT MOM! But anyways, on Tuesday I did faint on the bus when we were going back to our area. Earlier that day I had a migraine and laid down and what not. I got put into the hospital that night until 3 in the morning. They took a tomografia and what not. Anyways, long story short. Turns out both sides of my jaw are dislocated. But the one side that has always been hurting is pretty bad! Anyways the results. The jaw specialist said I will have to get a thingy ma bob. idk what its called in English, but its 2,600 reais. Plus treatment fees. President Pinho is aware. And so today were going to another specialist to see his opinion. Because I am having the super bad migraine's because of the pain in my jaw and that's what caused me to faint. So anyways, we will see what will happen after today but don't freak out mom. They asked if I wanted to call you on Tuesday. Haha I said no I didn't want to worry you. So anyways, thats what's going on. I'm doing my best to work but I have been having really bad head aches and migraine's everyday. And the meds are only helping a little. I am using ice and what not anways, so thats what's up. Don't freak out mom. Alright? If it's something super bad I will have to call.

But other news. We did get a house! Well we will probably be living in a super sweet condominium. Haha oh yeah! I am good! It is only 3 minutes from the chapel. BONUS! I'm good! haha jk, the Lord is good. He has blessed us so much this week. And will continue to bless us :)

Anyways, I am loving the mission and am learning a lot. This is a time of trials, but the Lord will bless me and everything is in his hands. I'm doing the best I can on my part. And for sure he will do his part.

Anyways Alex, I am so proud of you that you felt not to go. Keep up the good work and stay strong in the gospel. Read every day!

Com Amor,
Elder Firl