Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a merry christmas! It was wonderful here! We had a great time exchanging a few small gifts. It was anything big, but we had a lot of fun and built some great friendships. It's interesting how Christmas works here in Brazil. The big day for Christmas is the 24th. At midnight on the 24th, everyone opens up the gifts and it's a big meal. The 25th isn't the bigger day. It felt a little different but it was good.

The mission tour was wonderful. He was very specific and the things he said were just minding-blowing. My mind was opened so much to the immensity of this work. He focused a lot on "Behold this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the imortality and eternal life of man" and helping us realize just how important this work is. It reminded me how finite my mind is. It reminded me that I have a loving Heavenly Father. My eternal perspective ws widened. My desire to abandon the things that will not bring me back to live with my Heavenly Father was strengthened. I'm not sure why I hadn't thought about it this way before, I could have avoided quite a few things if I had realized the purpose of this life. I now have a guide to measure my actions against. Will this help me to return and live in God's presence? Or will this take me away from this. My desire to have an eternal family has deepened beyond anything I could have imagined. I will do everything I can to have one. I want to hold my own child, look at him or her and have that surety that the family relations I have here on the earth will be able to continue on beyond the grave. My future marriage and family will not be abolished with death. I don't really know how to explain how I'm feeling, but just know that I know that families can be forever together. I know this, deep within my soul I know this. I rings true inside of me. My spirit yearns for this. It seeks to be reunited once again with my God that created me and taught me before this life. That is the true nature of my spirit.

Needless to say, it was a great experience that I will always treasure.

I love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Short One

I didn't plan my time very well and I ran out of time, Sorry!

This past week, a Seventy came and visited us. A Seventy is a position in the Church that is used mainly to support all the different areas of the church all over the world. So we have a few Seventies here in Brazil that help train and meet the needs of the Church in the Brazil area. Elder Mazzagardi is his name. He lived in New Jersey! In Hoboken. Anyway, it was amazing! He talked very specifically to us, and I felt the spirit strongly. I'll explain more about what he said next week.

For now, here's the picture of everyone at the conference. It was the Zones Teresina, Teresina Horto, Parnaiba, and Sobral.

Elder Rackham

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's Looking Like a White Christmas!

Actually, it's not white, but it's looking more like Christmas here! Last week we set up the Christmas tree in our apartment. It was great fun! I really enjoyed it and of course I took a ton of pictures! We even bought lights and wrapped the christmas tree in them, so it looks like a pretty darn awesome christmas tree now! Then we swapped names for gift giving. All in all I'm excited for my first christmas in the mission field! I still have to figure out what's going on with Christmas. I'm not sure how we are going to celebrate it, and how it's going to work. We'll see.

We had a few good experiences with Odilon this past week. He's the one that asked us for the Book of Mormon and he's progressing pretty well! This week he went Stake Conference with us, his first time at church. It wasn't the best first visit, just because it was a broadcast from São Paulo so it was more focused on the members and the needs of the stakes. President Uchtdorf spoke and I really enjoyed it. Odilon did as well. They talked quite a bit about temples, so it was a great opener to discuss the temple with him. We've wanted to teach him about eternal marriage so we gave him a few scriptures to read, explained just a bit to prepare for our visit where we'll teach about it.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to next week! Until then!

Elder Rackham

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hey Y'all!

Hey ya`ll!

So it was a good week, with my new companion! However, it was a bit strange to be away from Elder Loureiro after 5 months! I`ve been eating so well in Teresina that I started to get a little soft in the stomach. In fact, as embarassing as it may be to say this, I might have looked a little pregnant. So I began to think that maybe my stomach was a physical representation of our time together, because after a while we just admited that it was practically a marriage that we had together.

I`m going to use a bit of my extra time to print off old emails I want to keep, so I`ll keep it short, but next week`s email is going to be great!

Elder Rackham

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Whoa There!

So it was an interesting day today! We got a call from President Dias. I picked up and we talked really quick, and he asked me to pass the phone to Elder Loureiro. I didn't think anything of it, so I passed it on to him. They're talking really quick and I hear Elder Loureiro say, "My companion is Elder Smith?" It turns out we had a transfer this morning! Elder Loureiro and I thought for sure that we were going to be together until the end of the year, so instead of being together for 6 months, it was only 5! Still a long time!

I'm still here in Horto Florestal. My new companion is Elder Peixoto! It's going to be weird not having Elder Loureiro as my companion, but it'll be nice to get to know another person and work with him. It was just so sudden that I'm a little blindsided that it's happening, haha. So next week I'll let you know how it goes. Today we're just going to clean the house, organize everything, and this afternoon Elder Loureiro will be with his new companion. Elder Peixoto will get here tomorrow morning.

President Dias has been trying to teach us a principle that we should work independently from the transfer. That we should just forget about them and work. He's been saying that a transfer can happen at any moment, it's not a set every 6 weeks kinda thing. Many missionaries think that these are emergency transfers, making it sound like something bad happened. That's not the case. It's just that a transfer happened. It's something I'm trying to apply to my mission. Forget about the things that don't matter to the work, and just go at it.

Anyway, I gotta run! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Rackham