Elder Alex Evans has been called to the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission. He reports on July 10th, 2013, and will serve for a period of two years.

Monday, June 1, 2015

June 1, 2015 LAST LETTER HOME!

June 1, 2015
Rio Das Ostras
Last Letter Home!

Dear Family and Friends, 

I am finished. 

I never seemed to completely imagine that this day would come. 

I remember so clearly the nights in the MTC laying on my bed and trying to picture and think about all the things that I was about to do as a missionary for 2 years.

What are my areas going to be like? Who are my companions going to be? What kind of people am I going to meet and help? How many people am I going to see getting baptized? What kind of changes are going to happen in my life?

I never would have been able to imagine it all the way that it happened. I am so grateful that I was able to go to the places that I went:

Vidor 2nd ward
Vidor 3rd ward
Belford Roxo
Cabo Frio
Rio Das Ostras 1
Cabo Frio again
Vila São Luiz
Rio Das Ostras 2

There was something special waiting for me in each area, and I even got to go back to 2 of them to learn even more lessons. I also got to make friends that I'm never going to forget.

Elder Mountain - Georgia
Elder Memea - Hawaii
Elder Wright - South Carolina
Elder Satele - Samoa
Elder Jones - Idaho
Elder L. Silva - Ceará
Elder Braun - Washington
Elder Reed - Florida
Elder Montoya - Colombia
Elder De Medeiros - Rio Grande Do Norte
Elder Call - Colorado
Elder Luque - Equador
Elder F. Leal - Pernambuco
Elder Cardoso - Rio Grande Do Sul
Elder J. Silva - Rio Grande Do Norte
Elder Nascimento - Alagoas

A lot of companions, I know, but they all taught me valuable life lessons as well. 

I'll have time when I get home to tell you about what happened this last week. 

I wanted to let all of you know that I am grateful to Heavenly Father for the privilege that I had to serve a mission, and especially in Houston and Rio. I am a better man. I understand the plan of salvation. I understand why I am here and what I need to do in my life. I know that the Book of Mormon is true.

I know.

I know that all who read, ponder, and ask God with a sincere heart will also receive this conviction. Everybody who is able to serve a mission needs to do it. It's be the best thing that you can do as a young man or woman. And then just pray that you get to serve in Rio de Janeiro, the best mission in the world.

I love all of you, I'll be seeing you shortly!

Elder Evans for the last time.

May 25, 2015 What a Week!

May 25, 2015
Rio Das Ostras

Dear Family and Friends, 

What a week! Elder Siebers and I were joking the whole week, everyday was our last not last Monday, or our last not last Friday. At least serving in the field. Today starts my last full week. My last week serving as a missionary in my area. Good thing that we've been finally able to start the work up as normal this week. We have 2 baptisms set for this coming Sunday morning. R-, is the wife of a recent convert, and V-, an 8 yr old boy who is the grandson of a member who returned to activity recently. It was funny, we were teaching this family of the member and at the end of the lesson V- told us that he really wanted to be a member of the church, he had already told the bishop and asked his mom's permission and she said yes. haha. We talked with and taught his mom and we marked his baptism for the 31st. I'll have have 2 baptisms for my last weekend on the mission. 

We moved this week too. It was a mess. We were told on Thursday that we were going to move houses on Saturday. We live in the "penthouse" of a brand new apartment building now. It's nice, but it's not as nice as it seems. We have a cool view. I'll have to see if I can send a pic home today. It was a hassle, but that's about it.

Other awesome news is that this ward is exploding! We had an attendance of 180 at Sacrament meeting this week! That is really not normal. Most wards in Rio have an average of 75. And what was better is that it was just a normal sunday. No conference or people from other wards, just members and investigators. The gospel principles class is the biggest in the ward, the retention rate of new converts is 96%. And there are baptisms everyweek. I love this place.

Mom asked me what the theme of my mission is. Ours is "Começar com o resultado final em mente; batizar, resgatar, reter, e conduzir ao templo" (just google translate it). This mission has also had several unofficial themes since I've been here. President Lima always said to us everytime you saw him, "Vai com fé" Or "go with faith", another that has always been on my mind is "BATISMO!!!!!" and I think my personal theme or motto would have to be "Só vai" (Just do it - basically). I say that because every hour there is another situation that you have to overcome, someone to talk to, someone to teach, someone to invite to be baptized. Everyone has some kind of fear to just go around talking to strangers all day and especially inviting people that you don't know to be baptized isn't something people normally do, but it's what I'm here to do. If I don't speak to people, if I don't invite them, who will? So, "just do it."

The biggest lessons that I have learned are patience, how to be charitable, how to listen to others, how to seek revelation and follow the inspirations given by the Holy Ghost, how to have faith, and how to serve. But there are too many other lessons than I can count. 
Have a good week!
Elder Evans

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18- Short and Sweet

May, 18, 2015
Rio Das Ostras

Dear Family and Friends,

How are yall? I'm doing well. We are working to turn this area around and really have some more success these last 2 weeks I have. This week we found a few really cool people to teach and people who were really prepared to hear the message of the gospel.

I am just continuing the mission and preparing myself to finish. Prepping to get back home and be a different person and get back into the world. I'm excited to get to rest a little bit and then get back to school. I can't wait to start portuguese classes at BYU. I'm already going to miss speaking this language.

I don't have a whole lot to say. My thoughts are all over the place, but I'm grateful that I had this opportunity to serve and I am incredibly grateful that I was called to serve here in Rio de Janeiro. It may have it's problems, but it's the best city in the entire world. And the Cabo Frio zone will always be the best, I spent so much time here that it just has to be. Can't wait to be able to some day get on the beaches here. 

We're coming to a close. Only 2 more weeks. Get ready.

Elder Evans

May 11, 2015 T - 3 weeks and counting.

May 4, 2015
Rio Das Ostras

Dear Famiily and Friends
I am getting so close! It still doesn't even feel real! At least some times it doesn't. After Skyping yesterday for Mother's day I feel a little bit closer to being home than before. It's a weird feeling to be finishing the mission.
Today is one of my last pdays on my mission and it just seems like yesterday that I was getting to Brasil and didn't understand a single thing in Portuguese, but now I have difficulty speaking english. It's all so confusing, but that's mission life for ya.
This week was a little low on results. We are re-opening this area because it was white washed. We tried the whole week to get in contact to be able to find and teach the investigators that the previous missionaries were teaching, we had a lot of hard times trying to get a hold of all of them. But it was also Mother's Day yesterday, so almost nobody went to church. A cool thing was that I got to see most of my recent converts from the first time that I was in this area.

We have plans to do a lot of work this week. I want to baptize and bring tons of people to church. I'm going to have to go to Rio tonight for meetings tomorrow, and I'll probably get back here late tomorrow night. I'm not too happy and  I'm tired of doing this trip back and forth. I spend a lot of money and waste a lot of time on the bus. But President commands, we obey.
I don't have much to say this week, most was spoken yesterday. It was good to be able to see ya'll and know that things are normal.
Keep planning my parade and homecoming festival haha. Until next week!


Elder Evans

Friday, May 8, 2015

May 8, 2015 Dreams DO Come True!

May 8, 2015
Rio das Ostras

Dear Family and Friends,

Today is the first day of the last transfer of my mission. I was transferred from Anil. I guess I was destined to travel all over this mission. I got transferred like every transfer. But things are all good. The place of my death (missionary term for where I will finish my mission) is..........
Rio Das Ostras!!! I came back to the same area! Well, I'm in the other side of the area now, but I always dreamed of coming back to this area. It was the area that I liked the most out of all, and I got to come back to visit and work for another 4 weeks.
It is a strange feeling to be starting my last transfer. To know that in exactly one month from today I will be getting on an airplane and flying home, leaving all of this behind. The thought is actually making me sad, sometimes I don't feel like I'm ready for my mission to end. There is still a lot left to do.
Mom asked me to give a low down on what I expect to complete these last 4 weeks that I have. I expect to make every second count. To have the best transfer of my mission. I still have more personal goals to complete and work on. I want to baptize every week, and I want to be able to get onto the bus my last day here leaving this area and going to the office with a smile on my face and knowing that I did what God sent me here to do. I have a special love for this city, for the people here. I always knew and felt that the Cabo Frio zone was where I was meant to be.
It was sad to leave Anil too. I was there for a short time only, but it was enough to make friends and to help several people. 

Last night I was able to surprise J, the man that I baptized here the week of Christmas. He almost died from a heart attack when he saw me. He is super strong in the Gospel! He has an incredible testimony and he is just awesome! Him and his wife were super happy that I was able to come back and see them before I finish. I was able to feel why I'm here doing this work.
The happiness that comes from seeing how much people can change just because of the gospel and a few lessons learned, is too great. I love my mission, and I'm determined to finish happy and strong. And excited to see all of you again to start the next chapter of life.

Elder Evans

April 27, 2015 This week was INSANE!

April 27, 2015
Anil, Jacarepaguá

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was INSANE

Not much out of the normal happened this week. The biggest news is that my comp and I have started to do Insanity, the exercise program. We are now on our second week. It is going great. I'm sore and my muscles are tired, but it is getting me excited and making me feel great. We'll see what kind of miracles it will cause in the next 40 days.

This week was really just a normal week of teaching and trying to help people. I felt a little unorganized this week. It seemed like most of what we were planning on doing didn't ever happen. It left me feeling frustrated with our plans and with some of the people that set lessons, or lunch, or visits with us and then just never show up. These things happened a few times this week.

Church on Sunday was also pretty hard again. There is something wrong in our ward, at least that what it seems like. The attendance has been pretty low for the past 3 weeks. Nobody knows what is going on. I am wanting to see this ward grow. We have the largest chapel in the state of Rio, and our ward had only 55 people at church. We fit in less than half of the sacrament room.  This week we are going to see what we can do to bring more people back to church.

I found out that our mission baptized 108 people in April. This is our record so far in the last 2 years. March and April were the first two months that Rio has baptized more than 100 since before I was here. Everyone is excited about the dramastic changes that our mission has made in the last few months.

Next monday is the start of my last transfer! There is still a chance that I get transferred to another area for my last 4 weeks. I'll find out this weekend what is going to happen to me. Ilet you all know next week! And I'll let you know about mothers day when I know where I'm going to be next week!
Have a good week and keep the commandments!


Elder Evans

Monkies are everywhere!


Two Elders Going Home!

April 13, 2015 Quem é? (Who is it?)

April 13, 2015
Anil, Jacarepaguá

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a mix of great and bad, but for me it balanced out towards great. It seemed like there was some kind of curse over everyone in our area this week. Everyone was tired and depressed and sad and nobody wanted to do anything. It even was starting to get at us, but we powered through with faith and we were able to complete some of our goals for the week.

The best part was we had another baptism! We are now 4 weeks straight in our area. We are doing our best to keep them coming. It is our mission goal to baptize weekly, and I'm finally being able to reach this goal. It's good to baptize. This week was C. We have created a young mens organization in this ward. 3 months ago there was 1 active young man in the whole ward. Now we have about 9 that come and 5 baptized. The bishop told us that this was what he needed us to do, so we are teaching about 20 youth per week, and we are teaching most of their families too.

Sunday was a hard day in our ward, but also something super cool happened! First off, there was about half of the normal attendance at church today. Nobody knows what happened or why nobody was at church. We were waiting for some more investigators to show up when we saw from the second floor window a woman who we didn't recognize, and that didn't look very brasilian, enter the front gate. We went downstairs to greet her and I could hear her speaking english. When I we got downstairs she turned to us and I immediately recognized who it was. Lindsay Stirling! She just happened to show up for our sacrament meeting. How cool is that?! I spoke with her a little before and after the meeting and took a picture with her. She is pretty legit. She had a show here in Rio on Saturday as a part of a South American Tour that she is doing. It was funny because almost no one else knew who she was.

I am doing well. Hope yall are prepping yourselves for my homecoming party here in a few weeks! 


Elder Evans

Lindsay Sterling and Elder Evans

Rubix Cube Boss!

C's Baptism