I can't believe it is over! One more week and I will be heading home. These two years have been the best of my whole life and I am sad that they are already gone. I remember when I was first starting...how hard it was to learn Portuguese and to work as a missionary. I remember that many times I wanted to give up. I always remember something mom told me during that time: "Anything worthwhile never came without effort". I have never forgotten that and now I know that my mission was the most worthwhile thing I have ever done!!
I love you guys so much and I can't wait to see you all again next week! Hope everything is going well back home. See you on Tuesday!
Well...it is the start of my LAST WEEK in the mission field! This will be a week of 'lasts' for me....my last week in Brazil, the last time I will watch a sacrament meeting in Brazil for a while, the last time I will see many friends, the last time I will be able to eat pineapple every day....I am very, very anxious! But I am super excited to get home and see you all again! I started singing one of my favorite Primary hymns in a new way today: "I love to see the temples / I'm going there NEXT WEEK"! I am so excited to go back to the temple again! I am needing it so much!
So, I thought, for me to finish this last email, I would like to bear my testimony to you all one last time:
I know, without a doubt, that this Church is true. My testimony has grown so much in the past two years. I have no idea where I would be or what I would be doing if it weren't for the blessings of this mission that I have fulfilled.
I know that the Priesthood truly is the power of God here on Earth. I have seen it being used here daily and I am grateful that the Lord has not left us alone during our earthly journey. I am grateful that I hold the Priesthood and that I have so many people who help remind me of the importance of it and help me to honor it.
I know that our Families can be forever. How grateful I am for my wonderful family and how happy I am to be able to see them again! I know that the temple is the house of the Lord and because of the sacred covenants we make there, we can be together forever.
I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet. How blessed we are that a young, 14 year old boy wanted to know what was right. Because of his faith, we are all here. May we ever strive to have the same faith and the same desire to do what is right.
I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He loves us. He never leaves us alone. He directs us through a true and living prophet on earth today. I will close with a favorite quote from Pres. Monson: "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."
Love is all you need! I love you all so much and am grateful for the love, the support, and the prayers during my mission. It has been a pleasure to send emails to you every week for these two years. See you next week!
Hey guys!! Well, it is my second to last p-day in the mission field! Just one more week of email and then you guys will be talking to me in PERSON!!! Oh yeah!!!
This week was great! It went by really quickly. My companion and I were assigned by our mission president to give a series of devotionals about the new mission plan called "Circuito i9"...so we have been visiting all the different wards here to present it to all the members. Everyone is so excited and I am very grateful that I have this opportunity.
I love my mission so much! I am so excited to get home, but I will miss everything about my mission. I am glad that I have made so many friends here in Brazil that will help me remember all the things I have learned on my mission (and will help me remember Portuguese :)
Things are going well here, today we are going to a shopping mall. I am doing some last minute shopping to bring some stuff home to you guys. Can't wait to see you all again!!!
Hey guys! This week went by slower than last. We were very busy moving into our new house and fixing some of the problems there. One of the biggest problems is that we were unable to get a washing machine - so we have been washing our clothes by hand every day! That is rough work! I have a lot of respect for my mom now!
We had a zone conference (my last one!) this week as well. It was very special and I learned a lot. There was a phrase that Pres. Kuceki said that stuck with me, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." That is so very true. We can never begin to doubt that God is there, that He is listening to us, and that He loves us. That should be the foundation of our testimony. I know that God lives and that He watches over us. I know that He answers our prayers and that He loves us so very much.
Sunday night, I got to return to one of my old areas to watch a fireside about a new mission plan we are starting here to bring more people to the church. I am grateful that I was able to serve there and to help plant seeds of faith in the members and non-members, so that the work in that area can grow even more now. How grateful I am for this church and for my mission!
I can't believe that in less than one month, I will be with you guys back home!!! The time is going by so quickly. I hope I can do everything I want to do in these last few weeks. (Speaking of that, I only have three more P-days to write to you guys!!)
This week was wonderful! I am so grateful for General Conference....the messages this weekend were so inspiring and so positive. Something I have learned in these two years is the importance of being positive, of being an optimist. It is so much better "to look up"!! I know that I say "smile!" a lot, but it truly comes from the heart. Being happy is a choice we need to make, and that choice is a lot easier to make when we are surrounded by those we love.
I got to watch Conference at the chapel of the old ward I served in, so I got to see all my wonderful friends there and all of my recent converts. It was such a happy day! I am grateful for them and for their friendship. I am grateful that I will be able to maintain contact with them after the mission and be able to remember all the wonderful memories and experiences I have had and all the things I have learned.
Today Pday has gone by quickly. We are moving houses - we get to live in a brand new apartment!! So we are moving all the stuff in and setting up the beds and refrigerator and everything. It will take a while. Then we are going to Wal-Mart to buy groceries. So I better go for now....
Well, this week will go by fast! Next week I will talk to you guys again!! Hope everything is going good at home! Can't wait to get back, but until then, I will be working hard here!!!
Listen to Mysterious Ways for me today!! Love you guys so much! You are always in my prayers!
Love you guys so much!
Elder Spencer Eastwood
(I have to get used to people calling me by my first name)
Well, it is the start of my last transfer on my mission! I am very excited and very anxious to see what miracles happen here. How grateful I am for the opportunity I have had to serve as a full-time missionary. Never before in my life have I imagined that I would be so blessed as I have been while serving here in the Brazil Goiânia Mission. I can't imagine where I would be or what I would be doing if I weren't here on my mission. I thank my Heavenly Father every day for His kindness and love for me.
This morning, one of my best missionary friends called me. She is finishing her mission and heading back home today. She thanked me for being such a good leader when I served with her in the same area. She reminded me of something I had said to her almost a year ago. I asked her after a hard day of trials, "Did you make someone smile today? Did you make someone happier today?"
I am grateful that she still remembered that after all this time, because even I had forgotten. I think that this is the biggest thing I have learned on my mission. As we choose to serve others and love others as our Savior loves us, we will experience more happiness in our own lives. That is how we can see our success, by the smiles we make other people have. It is so important to serve others and to love others. A smile can change lives! I know this to be true now more than ever.
I love you guys! Thanks so much for the support and the love. Never forget to be happy! Smile every day! Love you!
I have some good news!! I got transferred last week! I left the city of Rio Verde and returned to Goiânia!! I felt like I was coming back home on the busride into the city. I love Goiânia so much. I am serving in a new ward called Fama. I was called to be a new Zone Leader for the first time on my mission! I am very excited and humbled for the great privelege I have to serve as a zone leader. I am looking forward to the experiences I will have here during this last transfer.
One of the highlights of my week was when I got into the city and was able to work in my old area! I stopped by the chapel and saw all my old friends from here and I was so happy!! I almost cried when I left. But I am excited because I will return there at the end of my mission to see everyone again before I leave to go back home!!
Things are going good here. I am glad to be back in Goiânia, because I will be able to visit some cool places on P-day and take some good pictures and buy some cool presents for you guys!
(I don't know why but this email was really hard to write in English...I think I am forgetting again...)
Anyway, I love you all so much! I am very excited for General Conference this weekend!! Can't wait!
Hey family!! How are things going back home?? I am doing very well. Feeling pretty tired today, but things are going good. We worked so hard this week, but didn't have as much success as I would like. It is difficult for me when I feel like I am doing all that I can and not having the success that I hope for. But there is always something more that can be done to help others.
I can't believe it is already the middle of September! Time goes by so fast here. The harder we work, the faster the time goes by. It is amazing! Time is one of our most precious resources. I am so grateful for the time that the Lord has given me to serve Him. I love the feeling I get as I feel the Spirit working through me to bless the lives of God's precious children. We are working hard to find more people to teach and to bring to church with us. We are also struggling to keep the people we have baptized and other members of the branch here active, but it is hard work! Please pray for us!
We had a zone activity this morning! We had a huge waterballoon fight and then after we went to a Rodizio grill! It was very fun!! Hope things are going well back home! I love and miss all of you!
Love, Spencer Eastwood
Hey guys!! My plane ticket is here!!! I am coming home soon!!!
Hope you all have a good week! Things are going good here. I am trying my best to give it my all. Have a wonderful week! You are always in my prayers!!
First off, I just want to say that I KNOW without a doubt in my mind that the Lord hears and answers all of our prayers. Anything you ask him, anything you talk to him about will be answered in His own way and in His own time. How grateful I am that we have a loving Heavenly Father, who wants us to be happy. Often, we think He is not listening or not answering our prayers. I think that He feels the most sad when we think that He doesn't hear us.
I spent this whole week fasting and praying for the Lord to bless us with a miracle...and it happened! We had another baptism this Saturday! The dad of the family we baptized last month. He will become a great leader in the church, Im sure of it. The Lord heard and answered our prayers and when we found out that this man would get baptized, we all left his house and started running in the road out of pure joy and excitement. Then, we calmed down and knealt - in the middle of the road - and said a prayer of gratitude. I am so blessed and appreciative of the Lord!
Things are going well....we are having a bit of difficulty in the branch here. Many people are falling away from the Church and I don't know what else I can do to help out! I know that The Lord sent me here to learn something, but I don't know what it is yet. We should always be grateful for the trials we have, because they help to make us stronger.
Always "aim high", because big goals make us stretch higher and higher so we can meet them. Even if we don't make our big goal, we will become a better person just for our efforts. I remember a quote that I love, "Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Love you guys! Thanks for your prayers and support!
"I have come to know that faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief. There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of...righteous [family and friends]"
Hello family!! This week was pretty good. It went by really fast at the end. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to bear my testimony at sacrament meeting and it hit me....I only have two more testimony meetings to participate in as a full-time missionary! I got kind of sad, but I am happy. I am proud to say that I have worked hard during my mission and that I have no regrets. I feel Heavenly Father's love for me and for the people that I am serving!
This week we had one more baptism! We baptized the daughter of a wonderful family we found here about a month and a half ago. Her mom got baptized three weeks ago. We are just working to help her dad get baptized as well!! I am so excited - it has been a privilege to be able to teach and baptize this family that the Lord prepared for me.
Things are going well here. Looking back on the time I have spent as a missionary, I have realized just how much I have changed since I left. I am so grateful that I decided to serve a mission and I am so grateful for wonderful parents, church leaders, and friends who helped prepare me for this opportunity of a lifetime! I don't know what I would have done without them! Because of them, I am here and I have had the chance to meet and love so many amazing people. I will never, ever forget the experiences I have had and the people I have come to know here.
This week I was thinking a little about our personal dreams and goals. We started asking some recent converts to draw a picture of their dreams in life and to sincerely work toward reaching that goal, toward making that dream a reality. I have learned that Our Father in Heaven loves us so much that He wants us to believe in Him and He wants to make our dreams come true. I love this quote by Jeffrey R. Holland:
"God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe.”
I encourage all of you to draw a picture of your personal dream or goal...and then do all you can to make it happen! As one of my personal heros, Bono of U2 said: "...you can dream, so Dream OUT LOUD"!