Monday, August 29, 2011

First Area...Itapecerica

Ah it sounds like it has been a busy week in the Firl home :) crazy stuff! I love reading your emails! I love to hear whats going on! Sounds like the high adventure trip was interesting. haha as it always is. It sounds like Eric is getting along with the ladies hehe. Well to answer everyone's questions on how I'm doing...

I am doing fantastic :) My companion is Elder Lembrazi! And let me tell ya he is a stud. He is Brazilian and doesn't speak any English. I was one of the few Americans to get a Brazilian companion. haha at first when I heard this I couldn't believe it, I thought to myself, are you kidding. I cant speak Portuguese, and this guy is going to have to teach me how everything works in the mission field. haha But, things are going well! I love him! He is from the northern part of Brazil. Yes the Amazon, he is engaged. This is very common out here. But holy cow, Elder Lembrazi has so much patience with me and teaching me how everything works in the field. Haha and well, I am learning a lot of Portuguese from him. Since I can only speak Portuguese with him. I still feel like the language needs to come faster, but every member we have met has said they are amazed with how much I know in 2 months.

For the most part I can understand what people are saying. Its a lot easier for me to understand than it is to speak now. haha quite interesting. Although Elder Lembrazi and I always joke around and say we have another elder with us... elder Micheales. haha the dictionary. But anyways, things are excellent. Now time to explain about the area.

The area I am serving in is called Itapecerica. Haha yes, it took me a day to pronounce it and remember the name. But that's ok. There are so many trees here its nuts! Its like they stuck this huge city in the jungle. There are SO many hills too. In fact, there is one hill called, o morro de arrependimento. (the hill of repentance.) Its crazy steep. Imagine the Lockwood Creek hill. Probably twice as steep and maybe 3 or 4 times longer. Its crazy. We don't walk that hill everyday, but often. Haha there are a lot of houses here. haha yes favelas. idk if i spelled that right. But its crazy. They are all so nice here in Brazil. They welcome us in all the time and well feed us a lot.

Speaking of food... They eat so much meat here. lots of beans and rice. haha its much excellent! But since my companion and I are broke we don't eat breakfast and dinner. We have a big lunch at a members house and well, everyone just gives us snacks for dinner. crackers and bread etc. Its interesting. I haven't had any... bathroom experiences yet. haha thank goodness.

And well about the missionary work now. Oh my goodness! I absolutely love it. Ill share my favorite experiences with you all. The Wellington family and Camila.

The Wellington family. Well to start off, they live in the mata (jungle). haha so its always a good 3 miles to get to their house. And well its really dark at night and kinda creepy. This family is dirt poor and barely has electricity. They have 5 children. They have been so receptive to the gospel. Its truly amazing. We set a baptism date for them. The parents are not married. And it takes a month to get a marriage license. So we gave dates for 3 of the children. Our next lesson with be about marriage. I'm kinda nervous about it. but I'm pretty sure they will get married. Being married will be a big sacrifice for them financially. But anyways, its so awesome to see them progress! Its truly amazing to see the changes people will make in their lives.

Side story. When walking back from the Wellingtons, my comp forgot the flashlight. hahaha so we walked in the jungle at night. haha talk about super creepy. haha and well most of the fireflies were gone. So we couldn't see anything. Luckily we made it home. That was a fun experience. haha

Camila. This story is short, but I love it. We went knocking on doors (clapping) and well I started all the talking with Camila, we sang a hymn and what not. First time being there. Talked about the restoration and well, she was super interested. With my broken Portuguese I gave the first vision and explained part of the first lesson. It was excellent. then, we set a date for her to be baptized. My companion and I agree that she is one of the elect. But I will let you know how everything turns out.

Holy cow, I love it here and I know that this is the place I am supposed to be. The people are so friendly. Its a completely different world. There is a lot of work here to be done. I have been so busy here. I still have a lot of letters to respond to. I should have time next week. anyways. I love hearing from you guys!
Elder Firl

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Aug. 9 letter to Ma Woods...

By week 7 in the MTC everything started to seem funny. Every time we hear the word Gortex we bust up but it has to be with a British accent. And we have decided to speak Portuguese with a British accent. At dinner, when they are doing this, the Brazilians give them a strange look and laugh.

The hallway is reserved for playing guns with their fingers when it is “quiet time” and that is around 9:30pm.

I absolutely loves the work, I love the MTC, and love my district.

Each person in my district is known for something and I am known for is story telling of what I have learned on the History Channel. We even have story time for me.

Saw the pictures of Alex from trek with Aubrey and Courtney and he looks just like me…what a stud :P haha!

I have been studying and researching the connection between the Bible and Book of Mormon. “Here is what I found. Look in Ezekiel 37:16-17. Using references this is a pretty hard scripture to understand. Why is the Book of Mormon called the stick of Ephraim for Joseph? Kinda confusing. So in 2 Nephi 3 “Joseph in Egypt is speaking. Read vrs. 7 “a choice seer will come out of thy loins” which I think is why it’s the stick of Joseph. Joseph S. will come out of the loins of Joseph in Egypt. Now read vs. 11. It makes sense! Well, more sense. Crazy stuff! It’s hard being able to explain how the Bible talks about the Book of Mormon & the Nephites. I never really thought about it before. Things like this make my testimony grow. I get to look into deeper questions and find simple answers. Just in case someone has the same question. I love reading the scriptures! It is truly the guide to life. It answers all our questions, temporal and spiritual. We just have to find and search for the answers. And at times that can be really hard. Especially when searching the scriptures to find one or two verses to fit the investigators needs or questions. Ires really hard, but oh I love it. I love doing this work here Ma!! I’ve learned more than I ever have! And I see more blessings. Truly my testimony has grown. I know without a doubt this church is true! I want to share the truth I have with other people in Brazil. Those people right outside my window! Those sheep who are prepared. It’s so sad to see that people are content with immorality, when all of these people who want to learn more can have eternal life. Here is a good quote we had yesterday and I want to share it with you. “A missionary is someone who leaves their family for 2 years, so other families can be together for eternity.”
Love, Elder Firl

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Phone Call!!!

I received the first phone call from Elder Firl...he made it from the MTC to the Mission Home! The Mission President let the missionaries call home and let the parents know they are officially out into the field. Jake didn't have a new address as of yet. He said to send things to the Mission home until he gives us a new address. He has no idea where he is going yet. He has a new companion who is from Brazil. And his new P-Day will be on Mondays so, we won't hear from him for awhile. He was excited and could only talk for just a few minutes. It was good to hear his voice!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One week left in the MTC....

Yes they changed my P-Day to Tuesday with the program changing. Its my last P-Day here. So idk (I don't know) when I will be able to write you guys next. I have not gotten a package. We are not supposed to get packages here in the MTC remember? But If I were to get a package I would like to have some hygiene stuff. haha like deodorant, since the stuff here sucks. They don't even have the sticks here. So get either dove or old spice :) shampoo and stuff like that is always good.

Yes we do get church news here. But I'm not really missing any foods yet. The food here is so good! I'm not too picky with my food. But I will let you know next week when I'm in the campo.

That would be excellent to get f-files. But hold off on it for now. I need to figure out what it will be like in the field. I will probably have less time to read and all that. Haha That's awesome Eric did the flip :)

haha So for this week, a lot of stuff happened. We went to the federal police station to get our visa stuff figured out. So we spent 3 hours there. haha it was pretty crazy. There were so many people there, and when I mean people, I mean missionaries. Imagine a giant line of missionaries going half way around the building waiting in line. It was sweet. And then passing out BOMS (Book of Mormons) were sweet! Not as crazy awesome as last time. But we ended up finding 3 people in 15 to 20 min. My companion and I felt bad because we handed them out so fast and we weren't sure if one of the guys was super interested. It was really humbling to go out again. haha I'm still having a hard time with the language, but that's ok :) Its coming surely but slowly. But the last lady we handed out a BOM (Book of Mormon) to was excellent! we talked to her for 20 min about how Jesus Cristo is going to return and all that. It was awesome :) She took a BOM and was super interested and said she will read it. But other than that, this was exciting as it got this week. haha We are all dying to get out of here and into the campo. haha we are all getting to the point where everything is funny and were starting to go insane. Its kinda like being stuck in a jail cell all day, of course a spiritual jail cell. Anyways, we are teaching a lot and are making progress! I absolutely love doing to the work here :) I'm a little nervous to leave, but super excited. :) With my broken Portuguese, I'm ready to make a different in the Sao Paulo Interlagos Mission :)

I've been keeping contact with Elder Anderson! Super awesome :) Love that kid! And I got the Richardson´s letter. Its gonna take awhile to write with a crazy week. But my next P-Day I'll send a letter to them.

Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers! Loved the letter :) So this week, if you guys could start sending your letters to the mission home that would be great. I'll be sure to let yo guys know where my exact address is when I find out. But for now send them to the mission home. Don't panic if you don't get a letter back for awhile. Idk how often we make a trip to the mission home. So you guys can wait till I update, or just send it to the mission home. I know for sure I'll get them there.

So something funny this week with the Brazilians. We were talking about soccer teams and which one is the their favorite. And their responses were hilarious, as they fought amongst each other which team is the best. It was between Flamango and Corintes. (Idk if i spelled these team names right) but anyways, one Brazilian said the Corintes is the right team because its in the bible. First Corinthians and Second Corinthians. Haha its pronounced the same in Portuguese. So the other Brazilian said to look at JST (Joseph Smith Translation in the BOM) and it says Flamango as a correction. hahaha so funny. we were all busting up on how intense they get with soccer. haha

Anyways, I love ya all and hope you are doing well :)
Tudo bem! Elder Firl

Monday, August 15, 2011

Heart surgeon vs. Medic

This is a letter Jake sent to Ma Woods...

July 26, 2011

I want to share what I learned today. So Jeffrey R Holland spoke. And let me tell you what a powerful talk. That man being part of the 12 Apostles has the power and authority to help lead this church. Anyways, he talked about missionary work. I got many thing from this talk, but this is what I got.So to all future missionaries. Imagine this. We are signing on a sheet of paper to enlist in a war. A war of a lifetime, but what are we doing in this war? Are we fighting? No, instead we are enlisting to cure, or save. Fix that which has been broken. We are going in as medics. But what kind of medic?

Ah, well let me tell you. We are enlisting to be trained as heart surgeons. Now why heart surgeons? For some, being a heart surgeon can take up to 15 to 20 years. Why? Because of the exactness they need when they perform. How do they do this? They study, study, study. They spend 20 years to perform with perfection.
We need to study, but being a heart surgeon takes 20 years to study. As a missionary, we are trying to do a more important work. We are saving souls. How much more studying should we do? It’s a more important work. We don’t want to lose a single patient. Not saying we will be perfect but we need to be the best we can be every minute of every day. This applies to everyone. Now we have this section down with studying and trying to be perfect all the time. Let’s move to a different part.

Being a medic at war we need to find those in the field who are injured and need help. Some are more injured than others. Do we only save those who are easy to find and/or easy to treat? I say no. You may think that they will be forever lost and will never live. Meaning they should save those and search for those who are easy to find. I don’t think so. Open to Helaman 6:36-37. ( I will insert for him just in case you are not close to your scriptures)

36 And thus we see that the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites, because of their easiness and willingness to believe in his words.
37 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites.)
So at this point the Lamanites are more righteous, easy targets and were willing to listen. Now back at what these Lamanites did. They did hunt (yes hunt, not search lightly, but hunted with a purpose). The band of the Gadianton robbers, which we know to be super wicked and dangerous, big scary guys right? Who we would never even try to teach because they are wicked.

Let us continue reading, “And they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them.” Think about this. We should hunt for even the most injured people. They accepted the gospel once. They enlisted in the war as soldiers. They can accept it again. Will this be easy? No. Why? Because “salvation is not a cheap experience”. It was not easy for Christ. How can we expect it to be easy for us? We don’t. Missionary work and life is tough. But “the road to salvation goes through Gethsemane.” We have to repent. And we need to lead the injured to the road of salvation. Through studying with exactness and being exact with performance. We as members are on this road and need to fix ourselves by studying. Studying a lot to cure ourselves; to become more exact on this brutal war. So I end leaving my testimony that through studying and prayer we can be better and perfect, like we save souls. But it won’t be easy. Study as much as you can. The Lord provides a way, always, let me tell you all. The road of salvation is a beautiful and painful path. But I know that being a heart surgeon bringing souls will be a great reward with hard work. No girl would pick a mechanic over a surgeon. A surgeon has a plan and a way.

I know this probably may not hit you or anyone else as hard as it hit me, but I felt like this should be written down. I cannot express how much I love this gospel! Over the past month I have changed so much spiritually. I’ve learned so much about this gospel. This is the hardest work I have ever done. But by far it is the most rewarding.

Thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts! You, Kayla, and my family are always included in my prayers. I pray for comfort upon you all. This is the least I can do for you guys after all the influence and things you have done for me. I love you all oh so very much.
Elder Firl

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Changes at the MTC!

Oh hot dang! Sounds like it is super busy in the small town of La Center!!! Oh yes I am super blessed to be here in the MTC in Brazil! It has been excellent being able to talk with the Brazilians!!! Oh yes. I would have to agree. Fasting and praying work. And my testimony has grown out here on those things specifically. I have been blessed with the gift of tongues and knowledge. It's amazing to learn so quick!

(Jake had said he didn't receive an email from me and I sent it...but wrong email...)
Haha that's really funny that you sent it to my gmail account. I was wondering what in the heck was going on. haha I was starting to think that you guys forgot about me. So I sent Natalia and email and have been writing Kayla because I know that she will tell you guys stuff. I was thinking that my account wasn't working at first. Sorry that Kayla gets all the stories in detail, it's really easy to write to her and I just have more time to write to her than on the computer.

Alex that is most excellent! I loved EFY so much!!! I learned so much and met lots of people there. To keep that spiritual high at EFY keep reading your scriptures, I have found that reading my scriptures brings so much joy and advice! Its a guide book to everything Alex. Read it often. And make sure you mark in them and put notes. It's the personal revelation that will help you in life. But that is sweet about the clothes :) girls like it when a guy can dress well. But let me tell you, other people might make fun of you but just keep doing what you like to wear and keep doing what you like to do. I have a scripture I want you to read. Its one of my favorite scriptures.

Helaman 5:12
"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you, to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

and then read this one...And when they use ``my son`` replace it with your name. It helps me so much.

D and C 122: 7 -9.
7. "And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for they good."
8. "The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?"
9. "Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever."

So this week nothing really exciting happened. Wait I lied. The whole MTC program changed. We literally have no free time in the day and it's so much harder. But let me tell ya the rewards are great. We used to teach 2 lessons a day. which was a lot to teach in Portuguese and fries your brain. But now we teach 4 lessons with video cameras and stuff. Its nuts!!! I cant believe it. But yes we teach all the time and spend less time studying. Which is kinda weird.

But we get to go hand out more boms (Book of Mormon's)next week. TWICE!!! One around Casa Verde which is just a small city, with a few houses and gift shop things. Nothing compared to the huge city. Then we get to go to Polista! Which is downtown baby!!! It's going to be crazy. I'm super excited and feel confident in the language. I can speak well, like casual talk, but my teaching needs some improvement. However, our district gets to go out 3 times total. Which is more than any other district. Since we are in the middle of the changes. So we are blessed :)

The things I am eating in the MTC are beans and rice, fruit and lots of meat. Like a lot of meat. Its disgusting. We eat it every day. haha So I'm kinda sick of chicken. On my P-Day we always go to the temple and go around town. Get a smoothie or candy. I normally don't get that stuff. But, we always go to the post office.

Our P-Days (Preparation Days) are really full so we don't get much time to do fun things. I do laundry and stuff like that. haha So my day at the MTC. haha It's study, eat, teach, eat, teach, eat, teach and study, and then snack time. haha probably one of the highlights of the day. But anyways this week has been great! My companion and I get along well, he goes to bed pretty early and has a hard time getting put. Me, I stay up as late as we are allowed and get up 15 min early so I don't have to wait for a shower. haha But anyways, life is good!

Thank you so much for the letters, Sister Rambert: Thank you :) I loved the drawings from your class!!! I cant tell you how much that made my day. Keep put the good work! Tell the class that serving a mission is the best decision I have made so far :)

Love ya all and wish you guys the best of luck in the states :) Elder Firl

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saw Andy....

Some stories that Jake shared with Kayla..

“I was so excited to cross the street to send your and ma’s letter and when I jogged across the street I didn’t look at where I was walking, since I was timing the cross (there are way too many cars here). And well…I stepped in a giant pile of dog crap haha. I couldn’t believe it! What dog would poop in the middle of the road! Haha I thought you would get a kick out of that.”

“Today I tried to teach a lesson and the instructor asked how long I’ve been here, I told him I’m starting my third week. He was impressed with my Portuguese =] It made me feel good and he said I have a gift for feeling the needs of a person with welcome arms. IDK many scriptures, but he said that’s ok. It made me feel so good. I was really nervous to teach that guy because I never met him. But yeah, excellent day today!”

“So this morning I got up and decided to open our window to look at the city. And let me tell you, we have a fantastic view being on the sixth floor. Haha yes it sucks going up and down. But anyway, I opened the window, and it was so beautiful! The sky is blue. It’s nice and sunny! And as far as you can see there are buildings. Huge buildings! All different colors and sizes. But close by, there are small shops that look dingy. Imagine cracked sidewalks and a decent amount of trash and stray dogs, loud Portuguese music, and tons of people. Now close by with the shops there are trees and plants, a decent amount. So cool! There are a lot of cars, nice European ones. But they are really compact. It’s weird. I love this city though!”

“Today so far has been awesome. We had the opportunity to go to the temple again! Oh my goodness, I can never get enough of it. But I saw Andy today! Right when we were coming back from the temple. Haha we were pointing at each other right when he got out of the van. So awesome.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Here are some pictures he sent! Enjoy!

"here is the view outside of the window, crazy right? I thought you might like them =] its a beautiful view!"

"Haha here are the guys in the room. Elder Condie is in the white next to me. Elder Lima is in the Olive green. Elder Viera in the red. Elder Acosta in the green Jersey. And Elder Sexton is in the back in the blue =] We have a great group!"

Preaching the Gospel!

Well this week was most excellent! We went out and handed 4 Book of Mormons this week! It was so awesome!!! We ended up doing this on Friday around Casa verde. So our goal was to hand out 4 Book of Mormons. We ended up handing all four out in just over an hour. So we did pretty good :) For the first 4 minutes my companion and I were walking around saying we would talk to the next person. We were sooo chicken to talk to anyone. haha so I ended up just telling myself that I was going to talk to the next person on the road, and that's exactly what I did. The lady was Catholic and wasn't interested in the church. That's all I understood from her. But we `talked` with her for awhile. haha I felt pretty dumb because we didn't know what she was saying. So I gave my testimony on the Book of Mormon and that's about all I could do. So after that we found this teenager sitting on the sidewalk, he look pretty upset so I decided to talk to him. It went really well :) He ended up taking a Book of Mormon. My companion and I were so excited handing out our first Book of Mormon. Next, we talked with this lady and she didn't have a religion but believed in the bible. We talked to her for probably 15 to 20 minutes. She complimented our Portuguese and it was great! We talked about families with her and we testified about the Book of Mormon. She was really interested and we gave her a Book of Mormon. She was super excited and everything! SO awesome! And then she said she would read it too! We committed her to reading it. My comp and I felt super good after that. The 3rd Book of Mormon we gave to a Catholic and he also said he would read it. His name was nelson. We talked about how the Book of Mormon was another testament of Christ and what not. He was pretty interested, but not as interested as the last lady. Finally, we saw this guy in the late 20s early 30 sitting on some steps. We talked to him and we had an excellent conversation. In fact, this guy had a Bible on him in his bag. He heard a little bit about the church but not much. So we explained about the Book of Mormon and gave him one. We asked him if he would read the last 2 paragraphs in the intro. So when we gave it to him he opened it right up and read it. We talked about it briefly and then he asked who Moroni was, haha perfect opportunity!!! So we open Moroni up and had him read ch. 10 vs. 3-5. It was most excellent! He was SO excited and thanked us so much for talking to him about this book. He promised us he was going to read the whole thing. The spirit was so strong when we testified that this book is true and would help his life, and I knew he felt it. He was full of so much joy. Such an awesome experience! I love doing the work out here! Even if I cant speak very much, it was just awesome being able to make a difference. Its really hard work, but moments like that has made everything worth it!

I hope all is well! Things are fantastic in Brazil! The district that came with us on the plane left yesterday. So that was sad. Its hard to say goodbye to them. But, they are out doing work :)