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

Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 64

It was awesome to talk to y'all on Christmas! i just got a tad homesick haha.  Only 8 more months!
I didn't get transferred, but I got a new companion. His name is Elder Klein and he is from São Paulo. He is a great guy! 

I couldn't send any pictures this week because the computer isn´t working out....but I'll try to send some next week.

This week was good, our two baptisms worked out, Patricia and Graziele. They are sisters. We are teaching the rest of their family as well, so we´ll see where that goes! 

I love you and thanks for everything you do for me! Give everyone a hug for me and then have them all give you a hug for me and then have everybody do a huge group hug! hahaha

I love you!
um abraço,
Elder Poulson

Week 64

December  21, 2014

This is Mitch's letter written to Grandpa Bob & Grandma Rhonda as part of a family Christmas tradition we have had for many years. He spent most of his letter writing time on this, so I asked him to forward it.  It is beautiful.

This year has been the most unique of my life. As you both know, I have been serving my mission. The year of 2014 I have spent entirely as a full time missionary. There hasn't been a day when I haven't ironed a white shirt, done up a tie, and put on that black name tag with both our family´s name and more importantly, our Savior´s name. 
I have learned so much this year, and I am still in the process of learning much more. I would say that what I have learned about the most is the 5 basic principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through teaching, being taught, and through my own personal study. These 5 principles are Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. The objective of every full-time missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel, through living these 5 principles. In particular, I have come to understand much better the doctrine of repentance and baptism. 

Before my mission, I knew what repentance was, I knew what baptism was, but I didn't 
understand completely why we had to be baptized if we were able to repent. I knew that baptism was important, but I didn't know why.  As I studied, I learned more about the nature of covenants. When we are baptized, we make a very important covenant. We promise to always remember our Savior, Jesus Christ, and to keep the commandment which He gave us. 

As long as we keep this promise, God will give us the company of the Holy Ghost, and promises to cleanse us, to forgive us and forget our sins. Therefore, we can´t have complete forgiveness for our sins if we aren't baptized, if we don´t make that covenant. Covenants with God are essential for our eternal progression. Baptism is our first covenant, and is often referred to as a “gate”. After entering through this “gate” we are able to make other covenants, like when we receive the endowment, and are married in the temple. Without these covenants, there is no eternal progression, and it would be impossible to return spotless to the presence of God and achieve exaltation. And all of this comes back to living those 5 basic principles of the Gospel. 

I have learned so much more beyond a better understanding of doctrine. I have 
learned a lot about who I am, and I have gained a better idea of who I want to become after I return to “normal life”. I would say that what has really defined this year for me has been growing up. I have 
gone through the whole process it seems, from when I first arrived here in Brazil when I practically depended on my trainer for everything, to being a leader in the mission, 
taking care of several other companionship's and missionaries. I have progressed so much since I have left home, and I hope to learn a lot more before I return. 
I feel so blessed to be a representative of Jesus Christ for these two years. It truly is a life changing experience. I am so blessed to have had this experience, which will help me for the rest of my life. Thank you both so much for always being examples to me of how to be more Christlike.
 I love you.

With much love, 
Elder Poulson 

Week 63

December 15, 2014

This week was better than the last one! Gabriel was baptized finally - his sister Raynara was baptized in October and he was finally baptized too! He is a great kid. The other kid in the picture is Alexsandro, his cousin.

This week we started working in a part of our area that we have never entered before! It´s called the Autódromo, because it´s right next to this big old racetrack. Its not too far away from our house, just a 15 minute walk, and there are a lot of good people down there who have never heard of the church! I am excited to get the work going down there. 
Yesterday was good because we had the baptism, but there were a lot of people who said that they would go to church but didn't. To be specific, 12 people, so that wasn't too great.  We´ll keep trying! 

Neto, one of the people that was baptized recently, is having a rough time...he is one of those people who completely changed his life around after he encountered the church. He lived in a city pretty far away from where we are right now, and while he was there he was involved in some bad stuff. He came here and met us, took the lessons and was baptized, completely changed everything. He had a rough week and told us last night that he is thinking about moving back and going back to his old life. We had a good talk with him last night and convinced him to stay here and continue living the Gospel. 
I am super pumped for this p-day, because we have a group of missionaries and members getting together to play football!!!! These last few weeks I've been really missing it, so it will be good to throw a ball around again. 
It´s hard to believe that December is already halfway over! These last few months have absolutely flown by. It´s true what they say about after one year passes, you don´t even notice the next one. I have been in this area longer than any other area I've passed through, and with this companion for a longer time than any other and it doesn't even feel like it. I'm super excited to use skype on Christmas! After this one, only one more call to home before my two years are up!
Hope you have a great week!!!

Elder Poulson

Week 62

December 8, 2014

I tried to send pictures again this week, but the computers in this place aren't recognizing my card reader...I think I might need to buy a new one. So, I have pictures, but i'm not able to send them! Thanks for sending some to me! I love to see y'all! 

This week was really good. We found a whole new group of awesome investigators, and most of them were referrals from recent converts and other investigators. One of the new ones, Geciliene, is awesome. She is 21. She lives way out in the boonies - it's like a 20 minute walk from our house to hers. Where she lives is pretty cool. There are about 8 houses there, and everyone who lives there is family. We started teaching some of them too! I don´t know exactly how many there are, but they told us that a bunch of the family members play on an amateur soccer team, that is coached by, guess who, another family member haha. The team is a big ole family! Brothers, cousins, uncles, etc. 
Another guy we started teaching is Santiago. He is a friend of some of our recent converts, Anderson and Wanderson (the w makes a v sound). Our first visit with him went really well. He is super interested in the Book of Mormon, and is excited to have his own. the way we usually teach the first lesson, we just talk about the Book of Mormon a little bit, and explain that it´s evidence of the Restoration of the Gospel. Santiago was anxious to get his hands on one!
So our biggest difficulty as always, is getting people to go out to church. Like I said, we had a lot of great new investigators this week, and most of them said that they would go to church, but come Sunday morning, it´s easier said than done. Church is about a 15 minute bus ride away, and it´s also in the morning, 9 am, so that makes it tough. But, if what I have been hearing is true, then a branch or group will be opening up here sometime in January, which probably means that it will actually happen in February or March, so maybe I'll be here, maybe i won´t - we'll see what happens. 

So the church has started a new ad campaign called, "HE is the Gift." in Portuguese, "ELE é o Presente." so all of us missionaries have been helping promote it. Find out more at if you speak portuguese or if you speak English haha.
President Fusco has asked us to study a few of the chapters of Preach My Gospel to prepare for Christmas Conference. I have been studying chapter ten, which is about improving teaching techniques. For a couple weeks, I had fallen into the habit of doing more of a presentation to the people we are teaching instead of really teaching. So this week with my studies, I have been able to improve on that and be more interactive, which really helps the people to understand better.
We had and awesome testimony meeting in church yesterday. The Spirit was very strong there. 

I'd like to take the chance to share my testimony that I know that Jesus is the Christ, that He is our Savior. I pray that this time of year, we can all think about Him a little more, and a little better. It´s amazing to think about what His birth meant for all of us. That we could live with hope, with the promise of eternal life if we keep the commandments. I know that if we do the things that Christ asks of us, we will have happiness in this life, and eternal life in the next one. I know that God lives, and that He loves us and that He sent is Son to die for us, so that we too can be free from sin. 
I love you! I hope that you have an awesome week! 

um abraço,
Elder Poulson

Week 61

 December 1, 2014

This week was pretty good. On p-day I took a great nap. Tuesday we did a companion exchange, and I went to Elder Kennedy´s area with him. We got a lot of work done and taught a lot of people. 

Wednesday was our district meeting, and I gave a training on making baptismal dates, and on helping people to understand the message of the restoration better. Then we did some practices with asking people for referrals. It all went pretty well and we got some good work done the rest of the day. We have been teaching the brother of one of our new members. His name is Gabriel, and his sister Raynara was baptized in October. He was supposed to get baptized yesterday, but it didn't work out, so we rescheduled for next week.

We started teaching a guy named Luis, who is really good. He is evangelical, but he has an open mind to the message of the Restoration. We weren't able to talk to him much this last week, but he said when he receives an answer from God that the church is true, that he will be baptized. 

We did a service project for an inactive member here this last week. Her name is Iranilde. We took the tiles off of a part of her roof that she wants to re-do. It was good, and we got it done pretty quick.

So Thanksgiving came and went and it was basically just a normal day. Except that my companion told me Happy Thanksgiving haha. 

I am doing pretty good, everything is pretty routine for me. The time is going by really fast. It´s hard to believe that Christmas will be here soon! Just a few more weeks! I can´t wait to talk to y'all! 

I hope you have an awesome week!

Elder Poulson

Week 60

November 24, 2014

I am missing all of you a lot, especially seeing all the Christmas lights come out. 

Something that I have started doing is every night when I write in my journal, I go back to the day I wrote last year to read what happened.  A year ago, I was still in Los Angeles, but it is crazy how much I remember when I read what I wrote back then! It´s making me appreciate keeping a journal more. Sorry I didn't take any pictures this week either....I'll do better this week! 
I am completely over being sick, and I am doing well!

My week was ok...we did a lot of visits to our recent converts and less actives. We have been helping a lot of people to fill out their family history packets that we gave them when they got baptized.
We are having some problems with that one big family that we started teaching a few weeks ago....they said that they don´t have enough money for everyone to take the bus to church, so that makes things a little hard. We should be opening up a branch here in Eusebio soon, so it will be easier here for everyone to get to church. When that happens, we should also see a lot more baptisms!!

This Saturday there was an activity at the church where a whole bunch of members who offer services like dentists, doctores, cardiologists, hair dressers, things like that got together to offer their services for free that Saturday morning. So our whole zone went there to help out. We got a room where some missionaries stayed and where the visitors were directed after they had their services done, where the movie "the testaments" was playing. I stayed in the room with one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Kennedy, and we explained the Book of Mormon to people and answered questions about he church and the movie. It was a really cool experience!
I am running short on time because the internet house is about to close down for lunch. I love you and miss you! 

Have an awesome thanksgiving!!

Elder Poulson

Week 59

 November 17, 2014

This week was a little crazy....we started working in a part of our area where we haven't really had much success before, but right now its going good! We are teaching a family of 7, and there are about 10 other people we are working with as well that are awesome! The hard part about working with that big family is that they don't have enough money to pay for everyone to catch the bus to church. We are thinking about talking to the bishop about renting a van or something to pick people up, so we´ll see where that goes. But, the stake is wanting to establish a group or branch in the city of Eusébio where we work, so that would be awesome! We would have a lot more people come out to church. So hopefully that will happen in the next month or so! 
So remember how I got really sick? Yeah, that was not fun, but the good thing is that I lost about 6 pounds in that time! And I have been working to keep losing. I haven't weighed myself in a while, but I have already gone to the next loop in my belt, so I must be doing something right!

On Wednesday, we had a zone training with the mission president and his assistants, and we also had interviews with the mission president. The training was really good, we talked more about the new way that missionaries are going to work here in Brazil. We will be putting more focus on helping recent converts and inactive members. I love teaching the recent converts, so I am pretty excited about this! My interview with President Fusco went well, he told me that he recognized that I am in a good part of my mission, I am happy, I am working, and everything is going pretty well. He told me to keep it up. 

So yeah, for me everything is going pretty good! The toughest thing right now is a little homesickness every once in a while, but that´s part of the experience and you can´t really avoid it haha. Overall I'm loving it! I hope you have a great week!

um abraço,
Elder Poulson

Week 58

 November 10, 2014

This week, I was basically sick the whole time. But, I did have a spiritual experience on Friday.  I had had a fever off and on all week, but it got pretty steady on Thursday and got worse and worse. So Friday, I think I was at about 104 - we were out working, and almost everything we had planned to do was falling through, and we were doing a lot of walking. We really had nothing else to do, so we started knocking on doors. The first few didn't work out, and as we were walking down the street, we passed this one door with the door open. As I walked by, I glanced inside and saw someone very briefly, but we kept walking. I got a feeling that we needed to go back to that house. So, I stopped my companion and we went back. We taught a mom, a daughter, and a son, and the lesson was one of the most spiritual that I've had on my mission.

Sorry, I have to go already, I ran out of time. I love you!

Elder Poulson

Week 57

 November 3, 2014

Well, this week was full of start off, on Tuesday, I got my Christmas package! No, I didn't wait. I don´t have the willpower to let a package sit unopened for two months. But it was an awesome package! So another surprise came on Thursday. Actually there were a few on that day....our zone leaders came to our area to work with us for a little bit. I went to work with the American one, Elder Kennedy, and guess what we found? A family of Americans! They have lived in Brazil 11 years now, and they work with some kind of church mission youth organization here. So, they weren't too interested in our message, but they were super excited to see other Americans and they said that we can visit them any time we want, and they even mentioned something about a thanksgiving we´ll see where that goes! The other surprise of Thursday came a little later....I got sick. It started with a fever, and then I found myself in the bathroom with more frequency than usual that night. I think it was because of the lunch we had that day....its a long story, but lets just say I think the dude gave us spoiled meat. Anyway, the surprise of Friday, was that the whole way that our mission is going to do missionary work, changed. From now on, we are told to AVOID knocking on doors!!! I got pretty excited to hear about that.  We will now be putting more focus on reactivating people, and helping new members to stay in church. It will be a little different adjusting to a new way to work after a year of doing it another way, but it will be good! I'm excited!

So, my sickness continued into Friday, got  little bit better, but on Saturday it was suuuuper bad, so we didn't get too much done. Sunday was better, and today I am almost normal. I am under orders from Sister Fusco to eat only rice, potatoes, and tapioca until my stomach feels normal again. 

Anyway, this next week we will spend re-adjusting to the new way of doing things, so I will let y'all know how that goes for us. Thank so much for your thoughts, prayers and support!

um abraço,
Elder Poulson

Week 56

October 27, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,
This week was pretty good, mostly because we had a baptism! I think I've talked about her before, her name is Lidia. She is the investigator who watched General Conference at home, started reading the Book of Mormon by herself (she is somewhere in Mosiah right now) and basically taught herself all of the lessons as well. We gave her the pamphlets, and she would explain them to us in our next visit. She was baptized yesterday and it was actually her first time at church. she works/lives in the house of an older lady, and she only gets every other weekend off, so she hasn't been able to go until yesterday. 

We have a few other people we´re teaching who have baptismal dates scheduled. One of them, Manuel, would have been baptized on Sunday the 2nd, but this last Saturday night he went out we´ll work with him on that. We have several others who are scheduled to be baptized on the 9th of November. Edikesia, who we found just knocking on doors, is one of them. She is very interested and does all the reading assignments we give her, so she has already read parts of the Book of Mormon, prayed, and received an answer that the book is true. Her neighbor Gregory, who we met at her house, also is planning on being baptized the 9th. 

Last night, we went to Leila´s birthday party. We are teaching her, her mom Irisneida, her sister Keila, and her aunt Raquel. We helped out a little bit with serving the food and getting things ready. Some of the people there probably thought we were waiters because we were the only guys there with ties and name tags.
Today we ate lunch at Carla´s house. She was baptized about 6 or 7 months ago, and she actually feeds us about 3 times a week. We are really good friends with her and her family. In fact, Neto who was baptized last week, is her cousin, and Webson, is her daughter Victoria´s boyfriend. Sometimes we do family home evening activities at her house as well.

Everything is going pretty good for me! I am loving it!

Elder Poulson

Week 55

 October 20, 2014

Hey mom! 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I hope it was a great one! I got my whole zone to sing happy birthday in Portuguese for you, i am uploading it onto 4shared right now! is about 30 seconds long, so I will have just enough time to send it! haha. 

This week was really good, we had two baptisms, Webson and Neto. They were super happy, even though they aren't smiling in the picture....I promise!! haha We went to visit them later that night, and Neto was almost a completely different person! He has been pretty reserved the whole time that we have known him, but last night he was laughing and joking around like I've never seen before! 
We started working in a new neighborhood where I don't think there have ever been missionaries, so we are finding lots of new people to teach. 
I had to go to the doctor to get an ingrown toenail taken care of...and then he told me I had to use flip flops AGAIN. So I have been in flip flops since Friday, but I'll be back to shoes tomorrow. 
Well, I don´t really have any cool stories this week, I'm just going along and teaching people. It's going great! Its hard to believe I have less than a year left. It really does go by fast!  It's crazy how much I miss the simple things that I always took for granted....I really miss Sundays at home. 

I love you! Talk to you next week!

um abraço,
Elder Pouls

Week 54

October 13, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,
It was a pretty crazy week for me, I taught more lessons this week than any other on my mission, I think...I haven't had a chance to write Grandma Billie, but I will soon.  Please send her my love.  I wish I could have been there to go with y'all to Grandpa Randy's funeral. We´ll have to go visit some other time after I get home. 

This week was really good, I am learning so much every week! I feel like I am gaining a new understanding of the gospel the more I teach it. That is definitely a great thing about serving here, there are so many opportunities to teach. It has been cool to see my ability to communicate ideas and concepts improve over time. Sometimes when I look back to my first couple of transfers (which really don't seem too long ago) it's crazy to see how far I've come! 

This week was great, we taught a lot of lessons and found a lot of new people. But our baptism scheduled for this week didn't work out. Her name is Lidia, and she is one of the best people I've ever taught! She watched General Conference at home, and she is already in 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, and we found her like two weeks ago. We have two other people who will get baptized this week, Neto and Webson. They are both solid guys. They have already been to church a few times, and they are ready for baptism! 

I am running short on time again, but I would just like to say how much I am loving it here! I have come to such a greater appreciation of life, what a gift it is, what great opportunities we all have. I am amazed at the love that God and Jesus Christ have for us. I know that they live, God is our Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ is our Savior. He paid the price for our sins, so that we can become clean through sincere repentance. I love having the honor to represent them these two years in Brazil.

Thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers, and support!

um forte abraço,

Elder Poulson

Week 53

October 6, 2014

Dear family & Friends,
This last week was a pretty memorable one! On Tuesday, we had a mission conference, which happens every couple months. Basically, all the missionaries from the mission get together in one chapel, there are a bunch of talks, training, lunch, more training, and then we played a huge game of jeopardy. I really enjoy it because I get to see all my buddies from the MTC and other missionaries I have gotten to know the past year. 

On Thursday, it was my one year mark from the day I arrived in the MTC! I started the day off burning one of my not-so-white-anymore shirts, which was pretty fun. Then I introduced my companion, Elder Da Mata, to french toast for lunch. I found cinnamon, but syrup and powdered sugar were nowhere to be found, so we improvised with some condensed milk, which was actually pretty good. Condensed milk is pretty popular down here. So after lunch, we did a companion exchange with the zone leaders, one of which was with me in the MTC, Elder Kennedy.  He came to my area, and we worked our butts off all day, and ordered a pizza to celebrate one year when we go home. 

My 20th birthday was Friday, which was pretty weird. I don't feel very different - haha but it was a good day. Pretty normal, but good. 

Saturday and Sunday was General Conference, which was awesome!  The parts I saw, anyway. I missed a few hours in total because of internet problems in the church (us Americans tried to watch on the computer in English, but it didn't turn out so good) and we were trying to get people to go to the church and watch. I did manage to see a good bit of the conference. I think my favorite talk was President Monson´s talk on Sunday morning. He spoke about the life of Christ, and how we can follow his paths better in our lives. On Sunday, we also had the baptism of Raynara. She is 13, and she is really great, she had already been taught by the missionaries, but she randomly came to church last week with her friends who are members, and said that she wanted to get baptized. So that was great to see that happen! Next week we should have the baptism of Lidia, who is absolutely amazing. She has already read almost all of 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, and we have only been teaching her for about a week!
I am seriously loving every minute of being here in Brazil. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers as always!

um abraço,

Elder Poulson

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Week 52

Dear Family & Friends,
My week was awesome! I am loving being a missionary more than ever before. We had two baptisms this week, Anderson and Wanderson. The W in Wanderson makes a V sound - haha. Portuguese is weird like that, half the time W is normal, the other half makes a V sound, but V always makes a V sound. so Whatever...anyway, they are brothers, 16 and 17 years old, and they are awesome! They were super excited to be baptized. My companion, Elder Da Mata had been teaching them about a week or two before I got to the area. Their mom and sister both came to their baptism, and church before the baptism, and they really liked it. They even invited us over to eat today, so we are pretty excited about that because cash is low and the fridge is empty!
This week, we also met a woman named Graça. She stopped us in the street one day, and told us her son served a mission, that he is a bishop in Fortaleza right now, and how she loves missionaries. She told us we were always welcome at her house. In fact, she fed us lunch last Thursday. It was a miracle, because our lunch appointment for that day fell through, and we didn't have money or food haha.
So this weekend is General Conference, and I am so excited! I love telling people about what conference is, and explaining about modern day prophets. There are a few people we are teaching who are super excited to go and watch!
Well, like I said, I am loving being a missionary, and everything is going great! Thank you all so much for the thoughts, prayers, and support!
Um abraço,
Elder Poulson

the smallest watermelon i've ever seen

baptism of Anderson and Wanderson! yes, they are brothers. and the W makes a V sound. because Portuguese.

we got a little extra money to buy a thing of gas for our kitchen. i cant remember the english word haha but anyway, we got the extra money for that. probably the first and last time that i'll touch 100 reais on my mission!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 51

Holy cow!!! Gracie sounds so different in the video you sent me! She sounds five years older instead of one! I still cant believe I've been gone for almost a year.  I made a video to send to y,all today, but I am back in a normal lan house instead of the speedy mission office Internet, so it wasn't able to load in time. I was transferred! I sent dad my address - I am in a town called Eusébio, outside Fortaleza. It's pretty good here, I am liking my companion, and I am a district leader, so I am having a lot of new learning experiences! 

I did get the box you sent that had the bracelets, thanks so much! Those missionary mints were funny, I liked them! I got the shirts from Grandpa & Grandma Hales!  The only thing I want to request for my Christmas package is a jar of peanut butter - it's hard to find anything with peanuts here. They don't have lemons, just limes, in Brazil. weird, huh?

My feet are doing great, with no signs of another breakout as of yet.

Sometimes when I think of all the things I need to improve on, I feel a little overwhelmed. I try to focus on just improving Little things. I agree with the quote you sent about most of our problems being in our heads haha! I have definitely noticed that I do that sometimes. I get way stressed about things and make it worse in my head than it really is. That's something I am trying to improve on, especially because I have some more responsibility now.  It will be good practice for me.  This first week in Eusebio was really good, there are lots of awesome people here that we are teaching. The hard part about working here is that it is a bit of a trip to get to church each Sunday, so it's hard to get visitors there.  We should still be having baptisms this week! There are still people who are really great, and will make the sacrifices to be at church, and change their lives. 

um abraço,
Elder Poulson

could you send me the recipe for that banana bread you make??

post-district meeting snack...melted ice cream haha

We have some lizards that live under our washing machine, and sometimes they make an appearance

Friday, September 5, 2014

Week 48

Dear Family & Friends,

This week was pretty good! We spent a lot of time last week trying to find new investigators, and this week we have a lot more people to teach which is great. It means less knocking on doors and more teaching! (here we do more clapping than knocking....everyone has outer walls around their houses, so we usually stand in the gate and clap)  We had 4 people come to church, and we should have at least one baptism next week! Randall, who I talked about last week, is still struggling with drugs. We are doing everything we can to help him out, but ultimately, it´s up to him to make the change. The temptation is really strong for him because most of his friends use drugs as well. We are planning on taking Randall to every single one of the activities they have at church this week to help him out! He is such a good guy, and he wants to get rid of this addiction so bad.

I'm still in the office, and I am the secretary of referrals. I take all the referrals that people send us, and put them into the computer on one of the church´s websites, and I find out the area where the person lives, and send it to the missionaries who work in that area. It's pretty cool, and I have gotten to know the geography of our mission and Fortaleza a lot better. I spend a lot of time on google maps! haha. 

Other than that, the work in our area is going pretty good! I am learning more and more about what seems like everything, every day. If that makes sense....basically, I am always finding out how little I actually know haha. I love being here in Brazil having all these great experiences that help me to learn and grow! I know that Jesus Christ lives, and that He loves us, that He is our Savior, and I love being able to represent him here. Thank you so much for the love, support, and prayers!

um forte abraço,

Elder Poulson

Week 47

Aug 25

This week, I officially recovered! Saturday I put on shoes for the first time in about a month. It´s good to be back to normal! My foot healed really fast after I was transferred to the mission office. The new transfer started today, and I will actually be staying here for the next transfer as well. So my new schedule more or less, is to go to the mission office first thing in the morning, do studies there, work in the office until lunch time, come back to the office for a little bit after lunch and then we work in our area like normal for the rest of the day. It´s kind of annoying because our area is about a 25 or 30 minute walk from the office. But I guess its just that much more exercise for us! Like I said, I only started working normal on Saturday, so our teaching group right now is really small. But we have one really good investigator right now, whose name is Randall. He is 18. He is a really good guy, and he really wants to have a better relationship with God. He has had some problems with drugs, but we are helping him to quit, and he has made a lot of progress already. We had a really good lesson with him Sunday night, and he also went to church and really liked it. We had to go to his house and wake him up, and it was kind of a struggle, but he ended up in church! 

I'm very comfortable with the Portuguese language, I can say pretty much whatever I want now, but I'm still trying to learn as much as I can! I'd like to learn another language when I get home as well. I feel like a third language will be relatively easy to learn, now that I have already learned one. 

te amo,

Elder Poulson

Week 46

Aug 18, 2014

Dear everyone,

So like I mentioned a week or two ago, I have got a legendary case of athlete´s foot, and I have been going to the podologist the last few weeks trying to get it taken care of. But it hasn´t really been improving, and I have been using flip flops EVERYWHERE for probably close to a month now (which is what the doctor ordered). So on Tuesday, the 12th, President Fusco came out to do interviews with all the missionaries in our zone. Sister Fusco was there too, and she didn´t like the sight of my foot. So after my companion and I had our interviews, she took us up to Fortaleza to see a dermatologist. The dermatologist gave me a prescription, (don´t worry mom, I am still taking juice plus!) and some creme or something to pass over my foot and said that I couldn´t walk around in the sun for two weeks. As a missionary in Brazil, walking around in the sun is what we spend about half of our time doing….so President Fusco transferred me to work in the office for these next two weeks of “vacation”. I got here in the office on Wednesday, and my new companion is Elder Marrey, from São Paulo. He is the secretary that takes care of all the contracts for the houses that the missionaries live in. What my job is right now is to take care of the referrals that go through the mission office. So basically I’m working a desk job for the moment.

Elder Marrey and I live in the same house as the two other office elders, Elder Silva and Elder Rowell. Thursday night, we all got home, and found that the power had been cut. Somehow, the bill hadn’t been paid and the power company shut everything off. Unfortunately for us, the company wouldn´t send someone to turn on the power on Friday because it was a holiday. If you think America has a lot of random holidays, you don’t know what you´re missing down here. So we were without power from Thursday until today. Luckily, we all had flashlights, so it wasn’t too bad.

Every week, our mission president emails us all a talk or a spiritual thought for us to read. I really liked the message he shared with us last week, from a talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, one of the counselors to President Monson.
“Once again the Savior revealed the way. When asked to name the greatest commandment, He did not hesitate. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” He said. “This is the first and great commandment.”  Coupled with the second great commandment—to love our neighbor as ourselves —we have a compass that provides direction not only for our lives but also for the Lord’s Church on both sides of the veil.

Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.
When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden.”

Something that I am trying to learn here on my mission is to do the things I know I should do, not because I feel like I have to do them, but to do them because I love the people I am doing them for. I know that the Savior has a perfect love for each of us, and one of the things that will make us happy in life is to try and emulate that love the best we can. We will all fall short sometimes, but He will make up for what we lack. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world, and that he loves us.
 hope you have a great week, and thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers! You are in mine as well.

Um abraço,
Elder Poulson

Week 45

Aug 11, 2014

So this week was actually a little discouraging for Elder Dias and I. Like I said before, our area is very tiny, only 12 streets.  Sometimes we feel like there is no one left to teach - haha. But the thing that frustrates us the most is when we find someone, teach them, the lesson goes well, the person likes it, we invite them to church, they say they'll go, and then Saturday or Sunday, we pass by their house to confirm with them and they avoid us, or send a friend to give an excuse. I would rather have a door slammed in my face than be lied to. But this isn't all that happend this week, good things happened too. There are a lot of good people here. One woman we met and started teaching, Yuli, was really great. But she was also very very pregnant when we met her on Friday, and she had her baby this weekend, so she has been in the hospital and we haven´t been able to visit her again. We will see her this week though, and continue teaching her. She is a very grateful person, even in trying circumstances. Like I said, she just had a baby, but her husband died just a couple months after she got pregnant, so she is living with her sister´s family. Something she said really impressed companion asked her in our first visit there if she believed that God loved her. She said yes, and my companion asked what ways that she sees God´s love in her life. She responded by telling us about her husband dying, and she was sad about it, but she is immensely grateful for her soon to be born child. It was humbling for me to see such an amazing attitude in such a difficult situation. I know that God lives, and that our family relationships don't have to end with death, that if we keep the commandments and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then we can be with our families forever. 

I hope you have an awesome week!

um abraço,

Elder Poulson

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Week 42

Jul 21, 2014
So like I said last week, I was transferred from Quixadá to Maracanaú. My new area, Jereissati 1, is SUPER tiny. It's only 12 streets, but it's super cool here. There is a mall close by and a whole bunch of cool shops. The ward here is awesome, every missionary who has passed through here says that it's one of the best areas in the mission. So far, I agree!

My new companion is Elder Dias, from Minas Gerais, a state in southern Brazil. He is crazy energetic, and loves American music. He's always singing haha. I like him, he's a good guy and an awesome missionary.

I spent this week pretty much just getting to know the area. It will take some getting used to, coming from an area like Quixadá where everyone wants to talk to you. Here, it's a little different. The chapel that this ward usually meets in is having some reformations done, so we are meeting at another chapel thats waaaaay out of our area until ours is ready, which will be at least three months. It will be a little tougher than usual to get visitors to church, but we'll do what we can. 

Something that our mission has started to do is teach family history. We have pamphlets that have family trees and stuff to give to people for them to fill out, and we tell them about, where you can do your own geneology. I started filling out my own pamphlet to show as an example to people, and its really cool, it's one of my favorite lessons to teach now. 

Thats about all I got this week...I hope you are all enjoying your summer! 

Moroni 7:44-48

um abraço,

Elder Poulson

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Week 41

Dear Family & Friends,
I'm super pressed for time this week because I was transferred, and my bus to leave for Fortaleza leaves soon, so I have to do everything super fast. This week was a little disappointing because we had 4 baptisms lined up, but a whole bunch of stuff happened at the last minute so that they didn't come through.  I won't be here to see the baptisms next week - I'm super sad about that, but there will be lots of people to teach in my new area! (hopefully). I'll be going to a city called Maracanaú, which is a little closer to Fortaleza. I'm excited for a new transfer! I'm doing well with everything.  Tell everyone I love and miss them! 
love you! um abraço!

Elder Poulson

These are pictures from the Cedro, which is this big dam and a reservoir that was built a long time ago by slaves.. 

 a big rock that looks like a chicken 
Eating a snack with Eliane, one of our "moms" here

We got caught in the rain coming home the other night

Neide, our other "mom"

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 40

Dear Family & Friends,
This week was another slow one....we had to go to Fortaleza on Monday, we came back Wednesday. Thursday, we had an unexpected visit from President Fusco. He, his wife, and daughters had come to Quixadá to see how we're doing, get us a few things we have been lacking in the new house, and most importantly, dedicate the city of Quixadá for the preaching of the gospel! It was a really cool day, President took us elders, plus the sisters to lunch, then we all drove up to a really high mountain outside the city. We walked around for a little bit, admiring the view, and then we all gathered and President Fusco offered the dedicatory prayer. It was a really cool experience. The Spirit was very strong there. 
Friday was the Brazil vs.Columbia game, so we all stayed in the house. It gets really loud during the games - people are lighting off firecrackers, yelling, and blasting their over sized stereos. So we just chill and try not to go crazy.  There are only a couple more games left, and all this madness will finally be over haha. Despite not being able to work too much during the week, we had a really good day of work on Saturday. There were a ton of new people that we met and started to teach. At one point, we were teaching a group of 11 or 12 people out on the sidewalk. It's really cool for me to see the progress I have made with speaking Portuguese. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing all of these new people progress and make positive changes in their lives!

thank you for all your thoughts and prayers!

um abraço,

Elder Poulson
Some scenery from the top of the mountain where we hiked with the mission President

a mall in Fortaleza all decked out for the cup

missionaries of Quixadá and President/Sister Fusco

me and Elder Padial, who met the grandparents Nelson while they were on their mission here in Brazil! he lives in the same house as me right now.