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