The Brazil Fortaleza East Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
October 2, 2013-2015

Monday, December 30, 2013

Week 12

Dear Family & Friends,
Well, I´ve just about completed my first week in Brazil. it´s been a crazy one! I found out on the 18th of December that my visa had been approved, and that I would be leaving on Monday morning (the 23rd) for Brazil. I arrived in Fortaleza on Christmas Eve about 10pm local time after about 27 hours of travel, give or take. Have you ever been disappointed about being invited to someones house for Christmas Eve dinner?  I have. My mission president, his wife, and the APs met me at the airport. I was wearing my sweaty disgusting travel clothes and I was dead tired, and the only thing I wanted in the world was to fall on my face and sleep for a couple days. But... President Fusco said that we were all having dinner at his house. So I didn't get to bed til about 3 that morning. haha - my first day in Brazil and I already broke the curfew rule! Don't worry, we got to sleep a few extra hours. It still wasn´t enough, but I might get over it someday. 
It's very very very hot. And humid. I´ve been sweating since I stepped off the plane!  There is usually wind blowing, and that makes it bearable. There are a lot of dogs wandering around....big dogs, little dogs, sick dogs, happy dogs, dead dogs, loud dogs, quiet dogs, you name it. Lots of dogs. No problems with them though! They leave us alone. 
My companion is elder Etchichury, from the Rio de Janeiro area. He speaks pretty good English, but with a very very heavy accent haha and sometimes i can't understand him anyway.  We get along pretty well.
I would tell you how our work is going, but I don´t really know whats going on. I think it's good.....not sure....i don't speak Portuguese yet. It´s pretty funny to hear Brazilians say my name though. I love how they pronounce it! So, at least I can know when people are talking about me.
My area right now is called Jardim União (Union Garden) and it´s about a 25 minute drive away from the mission office. It´s a pretty poor area, but the people are really great and seem happy for the most part. The members are really nice (i think....because usually I can't understand them). We´ve spent some time in the house of this one member family - I can't really understand them most of the time, but I can see that they have a lot of the same interactions as our family, its pretty funny! 
Well, that's all for this week.
Happy new year!

love, Elder Poulson
a "mico"
me and Élder Etchichury. and Jesus

Brazilian oreos


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best Christmas Present of All!

Skyping with Mitch On Christmas!
He's so happy & excited to be in Brazil!
December 24, 2013 Mitch arrives in Brazil!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Week 11


We got our transfer calls last night, and Elder Richeson and I are staying together in Carson! We're both super pumped to work together again and we have a lot of big plans for this transfer. Well, the Lord has big plans, we're just gonna try and keep from messing them up. Our district leader Elder Phelps is leaving, and we're sad about that, but he'll be awesome where he goes. This week felt kind of slow. We had an awesome lesson with a girl named Rose on Monday, and we could tell that she is one of those people the Lord has prepared to hear the gospel. She's in high school, and with the semester ending and her being so busy, we haven't been able to meet with her again, but we will soon! 

Our baptism with Shaune went awesome! It was a little crazy because that morning, Elder Richeson and I went to the church and found baptismal clothes to fit Shaune and the brother baptizing him, Marco (who needed a 4XL, and we found the only one in the church). So we stashed the baptismal clothes, because there was another baptism that day before ours, and went home. When we came back a couple hours before the baptism, the clothes were gone!!! We looked through the ENTIRE church, but they were nowhere to be found. So when Marco and Shaune arrived, we went to the close with them and they picked out what worked best. Shaune's jumpsuit was a little tight, and Marco had to wear this weird smock thing and squeezed into some pants that did NOT fit him...but it all worked out, and that's what's important! Elder Richeson and I were the witnesses.  It was a great service. The people we asked to give the talks did a great job, and everyone made Shaune feel welcome. The confirmation next day was good too, and Elder Richeson and I got to stand in the circle while Shaune was confirmed. He's been making a lot of friends at church and he started to go to scouts too! He has a lot of potential, it will be great to see him learn and grow spiritually. 
Tonight, I'm going to the Saunders house to do language study! Sister Saunders is Brazilian and Brother Saunders served in Brazil on his mission. I'm going to teach them the Restoration in Portuguese. It will be my first lesson since the MTC, so we'll see how it goes...I'm excited though, they're one of my favorite families here.
We had an interesting experience this week with an older Filipino guy named Arthur. He was a referral from a street contact that some sister missionaries made a few weeks ago and we've been trying to visit him for a while, but he's never been home. He was finally there one night, and we got in and talked to him. He told us that he wants to quit smoking and drinking, so we shared the Word of Wisdom with him, as well as the Restoration and we gave him a blessing to help him overcome his addictions. We're not sure how much he actually understood, because he told us that he doesn't speak much English. So we made an appointment for the next night, left him an English Book of Mormon and promised to bring a Tagalog one the next day. We also brought a Filipino brother from our ward, Brother Garcia with us so we could overcome the language barrier. So we all showed up, and Arthur was there and he let us in, and we all sat down and we gave him the Tagalog Book of Mormon. Then, these two guys come into the house, and we learn that they're friends of Arthur's. One of them told us that Arthur called them because they spoke better English, and he wanted to tell us that he wasn't interested but didn't know how to tell us and he didn't want to hurt our feelings. With that, we were still able to tell them about the Book of Mormon and a little about what we believe. We offered the guy that was doing most of the talking a Book of Mormon because he was saying that he couldn't accept it because he thinks the Bible is all he needs. We talked for about 45 minutes, and I think we left with a good impression. The friend that was doing most of the talking said something funny...Brother Garcia mentioned that he used to be a Catholic, but converted to Mormonism 40ish years ago. I think we left on good terms. As we were leaving, I felt a strong impression to go back and give the one guy a Book of Mormon. I knew that he had already declined our offer for one, but I felt prompted to give him one anyway. So I ran back, and handed it to him and invited him to just read it and see what its like, because I know it's true and it's the word of God, and I'm serving as a missionary for two years because I love it. He actually took it and said he would try it out! We gave them our number too, so hopefully he will read, and know that it's true.
We had another interesting thing bike was totally falling apart this week. So we keep having to do our best to fix it, or ask other Elders who know how to fix it come over and help us out. We were actually on foot for a few days because it was in such bad shape for a while! It's always an adventure out here. Oh, a sister in my district who is waiting on a visa got hers! She's actually leaving today, and it's pretty cool because she's in my mission! so I'll see her again when I get my visa. 
I'm so excited for this next transfer, we're going to be able to get a lot accomplished!
Elder Poulson

 President Uchtdorf said..."Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." I've been trying to live that more, and it's probably something everyone can use. It makes a lot more sense to do it that way, don't you think?

Sister Hart, who is in the Fortaleza East mission too, and she got her visa last week!

awesome bumper sticker thing we saw

My zone leaders, Elder Satre on the right Elder Chavis on the left, he finished his mission this transfer.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 10- December 9, 2013

Dear Family & Friends,

It's so hard to believe that my first transfer is almost over! I feel like I'm going to stay here in Carson for the next transfer, but you never know. I really hope I stay though because I've just gotten to know and love all the members and it would be hard to leave and start all over now. There are a lot of part member families in the ward, and it's usually everyone but the father is baptized, so we do a lot of visiting with those families. It's amazing to see the faith that these sisters in the ward have!

This week was really good! We had dinner with some of our favorite members, the Ryans, on Tuesday night, and sister Ryan told us something interesting.....she catches the neighborhood cats, milks them (yes, MILKS THEM) gives them a treat and sends them on their way, and then she just uses the cats' milk for whatever!!! She was all surprised that we thought it was weird, but I'm pretty sure I'm not alone on this...anyway, we had a fun night with them of helping them decorate for Christmas.

I went on splits with one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Chavis on Wednesday and it was pretty cool because they work in Spanish, so I got to sit in on a few Spanish lessons. I didn't contribute that much, but I had a pretty good idea as to what they were saying. Spanish is very close to Portuguese. Tonight we're going over to the Saunders house, some members in the ward, for language study because Sister Saunders is from Brazil and Brother Saunders served his mission there, so that will be very good for me! 
My companion, Elder Richeson and I got creative with sharing spiritual thoughts this week...we visit a lot of families with kids, so we acted out the story of David and Goliath. I put a blanket on like a robe, held a broom like a sword, strapped on my bike helmet and climbed up on a chair to play Goliath. Elder Richeson plays David, and we read out of the scriptures for our script. Then he pretends to sling a rock at me and I fall off the chair. It's pretty fun!

We have our first two "rehearsals" recorded, and we go back to watch them when we need a laugh. The kids we do the skit for love it, and then we have a good discussion about faith afterwards. fun stuff!
We got locked out of our apartment this week, so that was a bit of an adventure to get back in....we had to convince a neighbor that we actually lived there when he walked by as I was boosting Elder Richeson through a window. Lucky for us we're at ground level!
So our baptism that's going on this week is for Shaune. He's 13, and he's getting pretty nervous, but he's made some friends at church and he's going to start doing scouts, so that will be good for him. He's getting baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. We've had some interesting lessons with him, and he says some pretty funny prayers sometimes...probably the most memorable is that he prayed that he wouldn't get into fights at the dance he was going to that night, and that nobody would shank him. It's a start!

We meet some crazy people as we're biking around guy called out to us as we were biking by, "hey Christian heathens! can you spare a quarter?" LA baby! I'm loving it here!
Have a great week!

Elder Poulson


Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving was kind of tough, I definitely got homesick...this sounds bad, but I just tried not to think about it haha. It looks like yall had a blast at the beach! I wish I could have gone!
for dinner on Thanksgiving, we went to a Sister Wong's house. She's a philipino lady in our ward, and she loves the missionaries. she kind of reminds me of aunt carol a little bit as far as her personality goes hahaha she's hilarious! but we had a good dinner, turkey, ham, and I think rice was in there somewhere haha and we got some good leftovers too.
I got to give some more blessings this week, which was great. Including one to my companion Elder Richeson, he was feeling sick at the beginning of the week. I taught the gospel principles class again, and I hated it haha but i guess that's why I keep getting asked to do it.
Our baptismal date got pushed back again, but we got a few good potential investigators this week.
I am going to miss getting ready for Christmas with yall....I think that will be tough, but at least I'll get to call or skype or something!
Elder Poulson

November 25, 2013

 Hey Everyone- 
I taught a lesson in church this week - I taught Gospel Principles to all the recent converts. They are mostly Philipino or Polynesian and from there, so they all have thick accents. I taught about tithing, and they had a lot of questions....most of which the answer was just "that's a decision you make between you and the Lord"  but they kept throwing them at me. One guy was asking me a question in English and then slipped into Tagolog at the end of the question and I just kind of stood there with what I'm sure was a stupid look on my face haha but eventually someone translated.
I know we have someone we're going to eat with on Thanksgiving, but I don't know who yet haha. It will be pretty weird not being with y'all for the first time, but it's only two holiday seasons I'm missing!
A lot of really cool things happened this week. On Wednesday, a member called us and told us her neighbor had just found out his cancer was coming out of remission, and he and his family were having a hard time. She asked him if he wanted a blessing from us, and he said yes. so we went over there and I anointed him with the oil and elder Richeson gave the blessing. Afterward, his wife wanted a blessing too, and then his sister-in-law, and then his brother wanted a healing blessing as well. So we gave four blessings to this Catholic family, and the Spirit was so strong there. The family was all crying and thanking us and hugging us and saying they want to feed us dinner sometime. So they could be potential investigators! I'm really glad we got to share that experience with them. We also gave our Bishop a blessing the other night, when we had dinner with his family,  because he's been sick lately. and yesterday, we and the other two elders in our district went to the hospital and gave a blessing to a teenager with leukemia, because one of the members in our ward who has a baby daughter with leukemia as well, made friends with the family of the boy. So much Spirit this week!
We took our investigator, Sean, to the visitors center at the temple this week, and he came to church this Sunday. He's 13 and has ADD, so he has a hard time focusing and remembering everything in our lessons, but he wants to learn and be baptized, and has a baptism date for December 8th. So we made some good progress with him this week!
Everything is going great! I wish I had more time to tell you everything that's going on, but that's about all I got! I love you!!
Elder Poulson 

Week 7- November 18, 2013

First week in the mission field....holy cow.
The past week has flown by, but at the same time it feels like it took forever if that makes any sense. But LA is great! It's nice and warm. I'm so grateful that I don't have to buy winter clothes!
 My plane landed about 9:30 Pacific time on Wednesday morning, and we were met by President Weidman, the mission president.   He's a cool guy. We went to the mission home, which is behind the temple (which is absolutely beautiful) and had a new missionary training, met our new companions, and ate lunch. My trainer is Elder Richeson from Tennessee. We are getting along great and working well together, and he's made my transition to real missionary life a lot easier. My first night, we went to visit some families. I was basically in shock the whole night...that plus the fact that I'd been up since 3:30 in the morning didn't help haha but the next day was a lot better.
It actually got a lot better the next few days, and at this point, I'm doing pretty well. There are a lot of awesome families in this ward. There were about 100 people in sacrament meeting this week. Our ward mission leader is brother Le'i, a big Samoan guy. He's a really funny guy, and at church he wears a lava-lava and carries around this big staff. Pretty awesome. and when I introduced myself in Elders Quorum meeting, and said I was from Alabama, he shouted out, "Potatoes!" like Alabama was known for potatoes or something....most people would have said something like rednecks, racism, nascar, football, moonshine etc. but he thought of potatoes....
There are two other Elders in our ward, Phelps from Utah and Tupou'ata from Tonga. Since we have a car and they don't, we drive them around a lot. They're great guys though. We got me a bike that was left by an elder when he went home. The seat is at a weird angle, the gears won't shift right, and there are a lot of holes in the back tire, but Elder Phelps is like the bike whisperer so he was able to fix most of the issues and it rides pretty well now.
there are two other visa waiters in my district, both sisters. One of them is in the same mission as me, Fortaleza East! She's been here for one transfer.
Elder Richeson and I live in a pretty nice place, it's a one bed one bath apartment with a living room and a kitchen. It's pretty nice, and my only complaint is that sometimes the neighbors have karaoke night with mariachi music and it's pretty loud...but there could definitely be worse things!
There's a family called the Saunders in the ward, and Brother Saunders served a mission in Brazil and sister Saunders is Brazilian, so I have someone to practice a little Portuguese with! I have to ask sister Sanders to "fala devegar, por favor", speak slowly please, but its a blessing to have Portuguese speakers here!
We have a lot of part-member and or less active families here and we spend a lot of time visiting them, and we have a couple investigators we're working with, one with a baptism date! so we'll see how all that plays out.
amo voces!
Elder Poulson

This is it! November 11, 2013

On Wednesday, I'll be in the mission field serving in the California Los Angeles Mission! I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity to serve there for a while before I go to Fortaleza. The LA mission is actually gonna be really coo, it has Malibu Beach, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills, so if you hear of any movie stars suddenly becoming Mormon, that means I'm having some success! I'm probably most excited that I don't have to buy any winter clothes, like the other elders in my district who got reassignments to Oklahoma, North Carolina, Colorado, and Ohio. That's a huge blessing to me! I'm also grateful for the chance to teach in English for a while and figure out what I'm doing and adjust to real missionary life. I can do all that without the stress of speaking Portuguese 24/7! I know with all my heart that I am going to California to serve for a reason, that the Lord needs me there before I go to Brazil. I look forward to fulfilling that purpose and being an instrument in the Lord's hands by helping to bring others to Christ! My experience at the MTC has been great, and I've learned so much here about Christ, His gospel, and about myself, and I can't wait to use this knowledge to help God's children!

Amo voces!

com amor, 
Elder Poulson 

Beginning of week 6- November 5, 2013

Hey Everyone-

Not too much going on this last week. Two more elders in my district got their visas, but they aren't leaving until next monday, and that will be about the same time the rest of us get our reassignments to somewhere in the states. They will be with us until then. This puts us at a grand total of 6 elders that have gotten their visas while in the MTC out of 11. That's absolutely unheard of, and everyone is kind of shocked that there have been so many. Our mission, Fortaleza East, was just created this summer, so it looks like the Lord needs more missionaries down there fast judging by all the visas that have been going around! My first week as district leader went pretty well. It's such a privelage to serve these great elders! They're like the brothers I never had. One of the responsibilities of a district leader here in the MTC is to prepare a lesson and lead a discussion of the weekly topic with the district and a member of the branch presidency and his wife. So since yesterday was fast sunday, the schedule was kind of weird and I totally forgot to prepare a lesson, of which the topic was supposed to be faith. It's lucky for me we saw the branch president's wife, sister Radebaugh, ten minutes before district meeting, or I would have been completely unprepared! Somehow I got a lesson outline made and we had a great discussion. By my next email, I should know if I have a visa or a reassignment to serve in the States until the visa comes through. Whichever it is, I am stoked to get out into the mission field and serve the Lord and His children!
Com amor,
Elder Poulson
Elder Harris, from Salt Lake, he was a zone leader for about a week until he left for Brazil this morning.

Awkward elder/sister pic with Sydney
sleepy Eder Groesbeck

My two studly companions and I

Week 4-October 29, 2013

I have had a pretty good week here at the MTC. The winter dress code is now in effect, so now all the Elders are required to wear suit coats everywhere...I only have one sometimes, like yesterday, it just happens that I end up wearing my grey and black suit coat with brown pants..Im sure that would get me an earful from Miss Sydney Poulson! But you gotta do what you gotta do, sorry Sydney! Ive heard that once missionaries arrive in the Fortaleza Mission home, the workers there take our suits and put them in storage until we go home. Im up for that, because I know when Im in a place where 70 degrees is considered chilly, I wont be wearing a suit coat that often. I mean ever. 
Its hard to believe that Ive been here a whole month! In two weeks Ill be a real missionary, teaching real lessons to real people! Whether in Brazil or the States, it doesnt matter to me, Im just thankful to be a missionary and to get out of the MTC! 
The other day, I jammed my finger playing basketball, and the next morning, it turned like six different colors and swelled up to twice the normal size! Its almost back to normal now, but ive been playing soccer for the sake of my finger. Probably good practice for Brazil. 
On Sunday, I was called to be the district leader for the last two weeks of our time in the MTC. So that will be interesting! Its my first leadership calling of my mission, and Im excited to serve.
Not much else to report here from Provo, but I love you all, and thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

Com amor,
Elder Poulson

                                                            Picture with Elder Frost

                                                                     My   Zone

Week 3! October 22, 2013

Dear Family,
Oí com o CTM de Provo! I can hardly believe it's been three whole weeks since I've been here. TI feels like so much longer but at the same time, it seems like time is just flying by.
My district when I first got here was 11 elders strong, but now we're down to 7 because four of them got their visas and they shipped them off straight to Brazil! They are all in the São Paulo CTM right now and hopefully I'll join them soon if my visa comes through! If not, then I'll be reassigned to somewhere in the states, but I'll be happy serving anywhere. I'm just grateful to be a missionary!

So at this point in my MTC life, a typical day consists of waking up around 6, breakfast at 6:30, two 3 hour class periods per day at either 7-10, 12-3, or 6-9. I have two teachers, Irmãos Lemperle e Whitaker. They pretty much only speak Portuguese to us. That's how it's been from day 1, so needless to say, every once and a while we have communication issues. But they are awesome teachers and they want us to learn as much as possible. So we have about 6 hours of total class time per day, plus about 2 hours of personal language study, and then about another two hours of personal study. We eat lunch at 11, dinner at 4, and study in between, but we also have about an hour to exercise every day but Sunday.

We have a devotional every Sunday and Tuesday night. Sunday nights the speaker is usually someone that works high up in the MTC, and on Tuesday nights a general authority comes. Last week, Dallin H. Oakes, the Apostle spoke! The choir sings at the Tuesday devotionals and my whole district started going to choir practice, which is Sundays before the devotional and Tuesday before the devotional, and we started going to the Sunday before the Elder Oakes spoke, and we've been going ever since. Choir is a great way to relax!

My companion, Elder Chester, is the music coordinator for our zone, and he plays the piano in priesthood and sacrament meetings. We take some time almost every day for him to play a few hymns to practice, which I like because we don't have many opportunities for music.

Sorry i don't have anything interesting to report yet, the MTC is pretty much studying, class, eating, and meetings. In about a month I'll have some new stuff going on!
Com amor, 

Elder Poulson

Week 2 At The MTC-October 15, 2013-

Mom-I got your envelope with all the pictures and everything!! thank you so much! I can't even convey how much that made my day this morning! Tell everyone that I love hearing from them, and I'm so sorry that I'm slow with replying but it absolutely makes my day when I get a Dear Elder! Tell Sydney she needs to step it up, email me or write me or something! Are those bracelets in the envelope ones that she made?? They look great! Thank you so much for the letter from you in there, I loved reading it! I can't even come close to matching that...thank you.

Thank you so much for sending that football! The district will be so excited when it gets here haha and it will be great to have a sweatshirt, it's getting cold around here! And I hope that I don't get some kind of foot fungus from using public showers for two weeks without thanks for sending those!

Church was pretty good, but Sunday just felt like we were in meetings all day, so you know how that is...our district was in charge of the sacrament, so that was pretty cool. They do the same thing with talks haha I didn't have one this last week, so it's a good thing I wasn't called on! Our mission president is pretty cool, him and all his counselors are awesome. Our zone is pretty small at the moment, we only have three districts right now i think, and one of them will be gone by tomorrow. But my Portuguese is coming great, I can carry on a conversation (with a lot of ums and pauses) so that feels pretty good! Eu acredito em o dom da linguas!

Thanks again for all the letters you send! I love to get them! I'm sorry I can only reply on tuesdays...

Well I love you mom! I pray for you every day! thanks for everything you do for me! Eu amo voce!!

Elder Poulson

Week 1- Oct 8, 2013

We went to the Provo Temple this morning, and it was awesome to do a session as a missionary! It seemed so much more special. I'm doing laundry right now, and I'm thankful that I was doing my own the last few months. Some of these guys are so lost!

My companion's name is Cameron Chester, from Maryland, originally Draper. We're getting along pretty well, he's a good first companion to have.  I love everyone in my district though, it's like we're all brothers, just after one week together (we're all sisters...probably a blessing in disguise...). We've had some great testimony meetings with our group, and it's so inspiring to hear some of these guys testify. Our district leader got his visa last week, and he left this morning. Elder Kennedy. He'll be in the Sao Paulo MTC tomorrow morning. He's related to Robert, and they look a lot alike, so he heard a good bit of Kennedy jokes from the district. Our teacher is Brother Lemperle. He served in Portugal and he's a student at BYU right now. He pretty much only talks to us in Portuguese, but last week he shared a story from his mission with us last week about making sure that loving our investigators was the most important thing, and then bore an incredibly powerful testimony. It was great to hear.

I've seen two or three guys that I went to jr high with, but I pretty much just said hey. I've seen Sydney two or three times, usually just in passing. I did see Austin Seegmiller on Saturday, but not since then.

Don't be sad that I'm gone, mom. It would be even more sad if I had stayed! Remember two years is nothing compared to eternity! Tell Sydney that I miss her so much and I love her! and the other two as well, I guess... ;)

My Portuguese is coming along ok, I feel like I've learned a lot in just one week. Probably more than in a whole semester at school!

Elder Poulson

                                                 Mitch being dropped off at the MTC