Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pictures at the São Paulo Temple

Greg, Greg and Elder Huxford, and Greg's district at the Sao Paulo Temple. Elder and Sister Brinton, Greg's Branch President, attended a session with his district and took these pictures afterwards. They emailed them to us this week. We love to see the temple and we love pictures!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Week 6 at the CTM

Hey Fam,
Another week has gone by. This past week was the best. On Friday Elder Scott came and spoke. He talked about the importance of Personal and Companion study on the mission. It was a really awesome experience. I especially loved his testimony about the Savior. He said that the Savior personally runs the church. He also said that the Savior lives because he knows him. When he said that, it gave me the chills. I really liked shaking his hand and looking into his eyes. I could tell he has so much love for missionaries. This is the second Apostle I have met. Also Elder Jay Jensen of the 70 was there too. He spoke on the importance of Hymns in our lives and in the mission field, and also how the spirit comes into the places. It was a good experience.We did not go proselytizing this past week because Elder Scott came. We get to go in a week to the heart of São Paulo. I am so excited. I can now say the first two lessons in Portuguese, and I am working on the third one. It is crazy on how fast the time flies by. I have a couple questions: How do I sew a button on suit pants, because it is falling off. Last week you told me that there was a kid that just came back from my mission. Could you find out if they have washers and dryers or if it is by hand. Also just what it is like. Today at the temple we met some Brazilians from Ribeirão Preto and they said that it is an awesome place. I also heard that it is the highest baptizing mission in Brazil. I think that it is way cool. At the Temple our Branch President took our pictures at the Temple, one of the District and one of me. It should come by email. Just wanted to give you a heads up. Hey you know that flash drive thing for SD cards, well it is a big hit, all of my mission buddies are using it and say that it is way cool.

Juli to answer your question the food is the same. Today is pizza night, I have decided that my favorite pizza is banana and chocolate. It sounds gross but it is pretty good. Things are still the same but I am improving tremendously in the language as I do my best. The thing that changes is time and how fast it moves. I can’t believe I only have less than 3 weeks left. I can’t wait to get out into the field. Hey Matt I hope you get feeling better. Hey that is cool about Devan getting his call, tell him congrats from me. Well congrats again for hearing about becoming an Elder. Hey tell Freddy hi for me. Jani I hope school gets better for you and you get less homework. Thanks for the short message. It was the best meeting Elder Scott. The spirit was so strong and it was just one of my favorite meetings I have ever been too. We did not go proselytizing because he came but I will be going in the next week or so.Well I hope everything is going well back at home. Thanks for all of your prayers.
Love you always,
Elder Shelley

Hey everyone,
Things are going well. This last week Elder Scott came to the CTM. IT was one of the best experiences in my life. Oh and here is the cool part. After Elder Scott spoke he came to the congregation to sing the closing hymn. He sat about + or - 10 feet away from me to the left. It was really cool to be that close to an Apostle. Before the meeting I felt bad that I was not singing in the choir, but when he came down and sat close by me I did not feel bad at all. I went to the Temple again, it was an awesome experience. The food is still the same. The only thing that changes is how fast the days go and how many weeks until I go out into the field. I can’t believe I only have less than 3 weeks left in the CTM, time is flying by. Well hope everything is going well back at home.
Elder Shelley

Hey can you ask Sis. Westwood if she knows anyone by the name of Steck. I am good friends with one that is leaving in 6 or 7 days, he is from Saint George. That is cool that Matt will be receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. Hey well I hope that you guys had fun at Disneyland. That is good that Juli is getting better, I hope Matt will get over his cold soon. How is the Bishops Storehouse working for him? Tell Matt thanks for updating me on the latest sports scores. How long until the Jazz start? When they do I want to hear every score even if they stink it up. That is cool that you are going for the Philles. Who is the other team playing? Well I hope everything is going well back at home. Right now I am so hot in Mr Cheneys Cookies. I bet it is snowing at home. I can’t believe that it is already snowing. Well have a good one. I hope Grandpa gets doing better, but when he does pass on I will be sad but happy at the same time. I am glad that I have the knowledge that life does not end after death and that we will be able to see Grandpa again. I also know that it will be good because he won’t be in so much pain as he is now. I am truly grateful to know all that I do in this church.
Elder Shelley

Saturday, October 24, 2009

We Got Mail!

Here is Greg's letter dated October 11, 2009
Hey Fam,

Hey how is it going? It is so much fun to receive letters from you guys and emails. Every time I email I feel you guys right beside me telling me these. It is the coolest feeling ever.

I have had a good week. I am doing okay with the language. Even though I am struggling I am learning to be better. I can’t believe I am on my “fifth week” at the CTM. The time has flown by. The guys in my district said if our mission was on a clock—24 hour—we would be at 1 a.m. right now. It is crazy how fast time flies.

Today I gave my first talk in sacrament meeting. It was on the Christ-like attribute of Hope. I did a good job, everyone after told me how good it was.

Let me tell you about an experience I had today. After sacrament meeting we have a district meeting. The District Leader, Elder Brewer and Elder Jeppson taught about Christ-like attributes. The spirit was strong. Toward the end my eye caught on 3 Nephi 12:16. It talks about letting our light shine that people may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” The Spirit hit me strong that I shared my feelings about this scripture. I told them that yes we need to develop the Christ-like attributes now, but they don’t stop there, we develop them forever. Even when we get older, people will notice that we have a glow about us or the light of Christ in our lives. During that time the spirit was so strong. I am glad that I obeyed and listened to the spirit. Just my small comment changed the tone of that meeting.

I have grown to love the Brazilians that have been in the room. Elder Lopes and Elder David. They are the best. Elder lopes wants to learn English and we want to learn Portuguese. We teach them English and he will teach us Portuguese. I am sad because they are leaving on Tuesday in two days. I have grown to love the Brazilian people. They love to have fun and party and when they share the gospel it is so powerful. They bring in the best spirit ever. I am really going to miss them, but I know they are going to be awesome missionaries. Just the other day, me and Elder Huxford taught our Brazilian friends and their friends. The spirit was so strong for when we were teaching and when they were teaching.

I still miss you guys and pray for you guys every day. You guys would love the humble people of Brazil. They are the best people you will ever meet. I am glad I am here serving a mission and teaching the gospel. I can’t believe in a week and six days I will get to go out and tract on the streets of Sao Paulo. I can’t wait. I can see the Lord helping me each day as I learn the language and teach. I can’t wait to share the gospel to the people of Ribeirao Preto. I leave on the 17 of November. I don’t know what time.

I love the people here, they are the best. I love all the missionaries. I have become good no great friends with some of the other missionaries. I am glad I am here and I know it is the right thing to do. Thank you for all of your prayers, it really helps. Tell everyone hi back in Utah.

I still don’t like the food very much, but it is okay. The other day we had pig tail, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good. I still miss your cooking mom and Jani and Juli and Dad and Matt.

Take care, and I know that this church is true. I have one piece of advice: Always Be Obedient! Even if you don’t know why, do it and you will be blessed.

Elder Shelley

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pictures of my Brasilian Missionary Friends

This is a picture of my Brasilian roomates, Elder Lopes and Elder David. They were the best. They went to the Sao Paulo Leste Mission.

This is Elder Santos, he is one that we met at the Temple. He would always come up to me and say, "Hi my friend."

This is Elder Torres, he is the other one we met at the Temple. He was just an awesome missionary.

Week 5 at the CTM

Hey Everyone,
Hope everything is going well? Today I went to the Temple and it was an awesome experience. I am so excited for Elder Scott to come on Friday. Thanks for all of your prayers and support. Take care.
Elder Shelley

Hey Fam,
This week has been great. Today I went to the Temple. It was an awesome experience. This past week Elder Godoy from the Seventy came and spoke to us about being careful of the little things. He has been my favorite speaker yet, because he threw out jokes during the talk. He did a great job.

Guess what? Elder Scott is coming on Friday to the CTM. I am so excited. I also have some bad news, we are not proselytizing this Friday because he is coming, but hey you only meet an Apostle once in your lifetime.

How was Disneyland? Hey keep me posted and I hope the Angels win. I hope everyone is doing well. Hey Matt and Juli get better. I know how it feels to be sick, it is not fun getting sick down here. I just love P-Day because I can get out of the CTM and I get to go to the Temple. Hey I got to tell you something cool. The Brasilians that were on our floor that left a week ago we saw them at the Temple. they were so excited to see us, it was way cool.

That is cool that the kid at the store realized that you were different. That is cool that he wants to save his money and raise his family in Utah. Way to be the good examples and letting your light shine to him. Well I hope everything is going well. Thanks for keeping me posted with grandpa and other news. Hope you guys have a good week and get better.
Elder Shelley

Question for Matt:
Hey who are the Angels playing? And who are the other teams in the playoffs? It sounds like the Saints--football are undefeated. Matt keep me posted on the NFL scores too. Hey has the Jazz opened their season yet or is it soon? Well I hope you are doing well. Keep working hard at the Bishop's Storehouse.
Elder Shelley

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We got mail!

We received a letter dated October 3, 2009

Hey Family,
Everything is going well. The past few days I have not felt very well. I think I am catching the bug that is going around. I am doing better. I can't believe I am going into my fourth week tomorrow October 4th. I am excited to listen to conference live. The meeting starts at 1:00 p.m. here We will be watching the priesthood session tomorrow, Sunday October 4th at 8 a.m. I am excited to hear what the brethren are going to say. I am getting sick of the food. After I eat for the past few days my stomach has not felt very well. I am also tired of eating the same stuff over and over. Hey if you want you can send me pictures. I am excited to be here and learning how to preach the gospel. I miss you guys everyday and pray for you guys. One of the leaders at the MTC said that missing family is a good thing because it shows how much you love them and how well you grew up in the church. I thought this was very true. I did my first lesson in Portuguese yesterday and it was the worst. I crashed and burned bad, but my comp. helped me when I needed him to. I can't wait to be fluent in Portuguese and that I can share the Gospel as fluently as I do in Ingles. I hope that everything is going well back at home. Keep me posted on new and upcoming events. I love you all, and miss you very much. Thanks again for all the letters that you send. Keep sending them, it is exciting to hear from each of you. Tell the Primary class that I love them and how much I miss teaching them. I can't believe again how fast the time has flown by. In only 5 more weeks I will probably leave for the field. I am excited to share the message of the gospel. I have to tell you something funny. My comp. Elder Huxford does not like when sister missionaries cut in line. Yesterday one sister cut in front of him when he had soap on his hand and was about to wash it off. He got really mad. So today in class I leaned over to him and showed him 1 Corinthians 14:34. He burst out laughing. It was the best. I love you all. Take care!
Elder Shelley

Week 4 at the CTM

Hey Fam,
How are things going? Everything is going well. I can’t believe I have one more month left. It is crazy. I miss you guys every day. Well hopefully Grandpa will be better. I went to the temple today. It was a great experience. Hey I have a couple questions for next week’s email. Dad can you find out from Randy Moe to see if I have to pack hangers or leave them at the MTC? I hear that they don’t let you stay for the full two years because of visas, so I think that I may come home a transfer early. I don’t know, but I know that I won’t be staying for two years. I just thought that was cool.

Hey Matt that is sweet that you will be receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. That is too bad with the Cavemen. At least BYU won. Hey I hope everything is going well. Hey just the other day I played basketball. We were playing speed and I whooped everyone. I told them that I played basketball a lot before I came. They could not believe how good I was. Thanks for playing with me before I came to Brasil.

Jani, well hopefully this week will go by better. Things are going slow and fast. I wish they would change the food schedule a little more. Hey, that is awesome that Austin is my little buddy. Tell him that I say hi. Mom I am receiving the letters, they just take some time but I get them. The stuff here is somewhat expensive. It is not bad but some is more than at home. I have enough money right now. Juli I hope everything is going well with you and school.

This week the Brasilians that were in our room and floor—6th went out into the field. I am going to miss them. I have grown to love the people already. They are like family. It was fun being with them. Hopefully the group that comes this week is as good or better. That is cool that I picked the same team as Stewart. I forgot that he picked that team. I miss you guys so much. Thanks for all for all of your prayers and support that you give me. Keep praying for me. I need all the help I can get. In a week and two days we get to go proselyting here in Sao Paulo. I am so excited.

Hey dad, I know how it feels to be in an airport for 5 hours and 30 minutes. That was how long that layover was for us. Well everything is going well. The church is still true :) . I went to the temple today and that was a good experience. I love going to the temple. Well I have been here for one month. Hey I leave on the 17 of November so tell everyone. Tell them that they can write me until about a week and a half before I go. The reason is that if I leave the MTC and they get mail they wait until the next transfer or a set of missionaries to go to that area.

Time is flying by. I can’t believe that I have 4 more weeks in the CTM. Well I hope everything is going well back at home. You can tell it is about summer time because it is hot. I am probably going to send pictures in the mail so they will probably be there in 2 + weeks. I hope that everyone will have a better week. I can’t wait to get out into the mission field. I can do the first lesson in Portuguese pretty well. We are working on the second discussion. I just love P-days because I get a little bit of freedom. I know it is not good to think of the CTM being a prison but it is. There are big gates and the food is terrible. Some days are better than others. I think of it as a spiritual prison. O well it is good. Well the church is still true :). Hey yesterday for devotional they showed us the devotional when Elder Scott came to the Provo MTC in August. It was a very good talk. There is a rumor going around the Elder Scott might come to the CTM on the 23 of Octobro. We talked with Presidente Woodward and he said that Elder Scott is coming to Brasil in 2 or 3 weeks but does not know if he will stop to the CTM. I hope he does cause then I could say I have met two Apostles. Hey want to know something cool? President Eyring is in Elder Wooley’s ward—a missionary in my district. Hey to answer your question mom about the district. Our whole district is going to Ribeirao Preto. I am so excited. Well hope everything is going well at home. Keep praying for me. I need all the help I can get.

Hey do you know what mission in Argentina Austin is going to serve? Do you know when he is leaving? That is cool for him. If you see him tell him I say hi and congrats on the mission call. Hey I have gotten sick—like upset stomach, diarrhea from the food here. Hey I wanted to tell you guys that I had pigs tail. I only had a little bit but hey now I can say I had pig tail. It is nasty but I wanted to share the worst thing that I have eaten here at the CTM. Hopefully Grandpa will get doing much better.
I love you guys so much.

Elder Shelley

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

We got mail!

We just got this letter from Greg in the mail. It was dated 9-27-09

Hey Guys,
How is it going? Things are going great. I can't believe I am starting my 3rd week. It has gone by so quickly. Today is Fast Sunday and I am writing because I have some time. The food here is not bad, but not good either. It is too bad that my companion Elder Olson had to go home. He was a really good guy. I admire him because he listened to the the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Also he gained a strong testimony about this gospel. I like my new companion. His name is Elder Huxford. He is from Elkhart, Indiana. He is so strong, but very humble. When we teach the lessons on the first discussion the spirit is always there and it is just the greatest feeling ever. We just "click" together. It has been a blast here at the C.T.M. I love having the spirit with me wherever I go. I love the guys in my district. They are the best.

In our class we have a joke. The instructor instead of having 10 people, she wanted 8 and she was praying for 8 people. My comp and Elder Huxford's comp. went home. That left us with 8 people. She wanted this because it would be easy to practice the lessons. I don't think she realized how her prayers were being answered until now. So there is the joke.

I just love it here. Now I don't feel too bad for missing the BYU vs. Florida State game. That is too bad that they handed the game over. Well how is life? I am glad that I am out here. This week we are starting to give the first lesson in Portuguese. I am excited and scared at the same time. I know that I can make it. I can't believe in less than 2 weeks I can say a prayer and bear my testimony in Portuguese. I thank you guys for my prayers. Keep praying for me and I will keep praying for you. I can't wait to listen to General Conference next week. I am so excited. Well take care. Only 23 more Fast Sundays. Hold in there. I love you guys.
Elder Shelley

Pictures from the CTM

My District: (Back Left) Elder Anderson, Elder Hughes, Elder Wooley, Elder Brewer, and Elder Jeppson
(Front Left) Elder Thornley, my companion Elder Huxford and Me.

The view from the 7th floor of the CTM.

The Police Station

Week 3 at the CTM

Hey Everyone,
This week was a really good week. I can't believe that I have been out for 3 weeks today. I am on my fourth week. Time is flying by. I hope everything is going well back home. Keep praying for me. I need the prayers. It rains a lot down here. The lightening is cool to watch. I am really sick of the food. It is nothing like at home. The beef is really good. The desserts are weird. I am glad that I am out here and serving the Lord. Well got to go.
Elder Shelley

Hey the first day we were here on Wednesday Elder Neeleman spoke to us. So sorry, but tell Mike that that is cool. Hey I forgot to say how excited I am about Austin Brunson. Hey if you see him ask him what mission and when. I want to know. Did you tell Grandpa G. about Elder Duckett? I thought that was cool. Well hope everything is going well back home.
That is all
Elder Shelley

Hey everyone,
How are things going? Things here are great! This week has gone by so fast. I can't believe I am on my fourth week here. I taught the first lesson in Portuguese the other day. I felt like someone threw me to the ground and stomped on me. It was bad. When we started I forgot everything I had studied. Then into it I did better. I am doing well. The food is gross. I am sick of it. I really like my new companion Elder Huxford. He is awesome, he tells us stories about his childhood and they are hilarious.
Hey Matt Congratulations about being able to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. That is awesome. I have told people in my district and they are way excited for you. I also am excited to know that you are gong to do a service mission soon. Tell me when you get it. That is too bad for the Cavemen. Hey I miss you Buddy.
Jani I remember when I first went on the freeway and by the side of the mountain. It was one of the most scariest times of my life, but it went okay. Hope everything is going well. Hey tell Dallin that I say hi.
Juli hey that is awesome that you were helping mom. How is student council going? How is school? Just yesterday we had a huge rain storm. Remember the lightening at Mount Pisca. This lightening lit up the sky and the whole CTM. Hope everything is going well for you.
Mom the reason it is called the CTM is it stands for Centro De Treinment Missionario (Center to train Missionaries). The guy in that picture was my old comp. Elder Olson. The Temple is small. The ordinance rooms are small. But it was much like ours at home. The celestial room is awesome. I hope everything is going well? That is good that grandpa is doing well. Thanks so much for giving me updates on how grandpa is doing!!! I miss you guys so much. Today we went to the Federal Police. It was for visas and to be finger printed. Hey don't worry about giving me the addresses. Tell people to check the blog. Mom I really miss your food. I am excited to get out in the field so that I can have a variety and make the food.
Hey dad, I hope everything will go better this week in DC. Hey I learned this week that your choices do matter. Like you heard, my district leader wanted to play a joke on the sisters and tie ties together and put apples in the last one and knock on the window. Well instead of the sisters being cool they flipped out and the whole thing became a big mess. It was not good, but hey I learned a lesson to watch what I do. Well that stinks that you have to go back to DC. How are things at home. We had a huge rainstorm yesterday and it was cool. If you thought the lightening was cool in Mount Pisca, here it is awesome. It lights the whole sky. It is cool to watch. Hey I hope everything is going well there? I hope work gets better.
Hey I sent a letter today. I will be sending pictures. Hey I love you all. Thanks for all your prayers. Hey tell Matt again how excited I am for him to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. Hey when you take the picture of my primary class send it to me in the mail so I can put it in the photo album. Hey that is great about Ryan. Hey tell Aaron and Freddy Hi for me. Hey I hope everything is going well.
I love you all.
Elder Shelley

Hey Matt
Hey I am so excited for you to get the Melchizedek Priesthood. That is awesome. Hey I do play basketball but mostly volleyball because I play with my district. Elder Jeppson could not believe that I kept sinking the ball. Hey all that playing has paid off. Hey take care buddy and keep me posted on the mission.
Elder Shelley