July 3°, 2017

Well, my time is getting short. This will be my last letter home as a missionary. I can’t believe that I’m a few hours away from boarding an Airbus A330 leaving from Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, Brazil headed to Atlanta, Georgia and from there back down to Florida. My feelings are very hard to describe right now. I’ve been imagining this moment since I was a child. I specifically remember sitting in Sacrament Meeting and hearing Zack and Jacob Lawson, Nick Allen, and countless others talking about their missions and then bearing their testimonies in their respective newfound languages. As I listened to them, I remember thinking, “that’ll be me one day”. That day has arrived, and much sooner than I think I could’ve imagined when I embarked on this two-year journey. I remember sitting in the airport eating at TGIFriday’s with Garret Silfies talking about how long two years seemed. I remember talking to missionaries at the beginning of my mission who hadn’t seen Frozen yet and thinking that I would spend an eternity in Brazil. In the blink of an eye that time has passed by. I’ve treasured every moment, and will take the experiences and knowledge acquired with me for the rest of my life.

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In Matthew 5:48 we’re commanded, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” That order is by far the most difficult one that we could ever opt to follow. In fact it’s literally impossible for us in our current earthly state. In Matthew 11, Christ gives us a much more appealing offer, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” When we choose to follow Him, we are choosing the easiest route by far. I know that when we try our best to do all that is possible to follow Him that our burden does indeed become light.

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The Lord is significantly more intelligent than we are. He uses His omniscience to guide and direct us throughout this life. While on my mission, I’ve experienced the joy and peace that come through our obedience to God’s commandments. Due to my own stubborn pride, I’ve also experienced the frustration, doubt, guilt and emptiness that are felt when I’ve chosen to do something that is contrary to the will of our Father in Heaven. Like gold ore in a refiner’s fire, we too must be purified until the refiner (in this case the Lord) can see His own reflection in us. The process of purification requires time, lots of effort, and a whole lot of heat. The Lord never told us it would be easy, but did promise that it would be worth it.

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I will now adapt the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland to fit my own circumstances: Let it be known by all whose eyes read or ears hear these words that I, Chapman Rex Tew, have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His kingdom here on the earth today, and that it is the only place in which we can find the whole truth, restored to us in these the latter-days by the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is indeed the word of God. It was brought forth at the beginnig of this last dispensation to complete our knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that Thomas S. Monson was called as a prophet of God to guide us through the ominous labrynth which is the world today.

Every time I don my name tag, I put on display two names in big white letters on a black background, those being my family’s name and the name of Jesus Christ. As I have represented those two entities I’ve tried to do so as honorably and worthily as I could. While I have yet to reach perfection I’ve gained a desire to really do my best and offer everything I’ve got to my Father in Heaven. I testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to all those who choose to follow His example through their faith, repentance, baptism, receipt of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and endurance until the end of this life. I know that if we follow the straight and narrow path that it will lead us back to our Heavenly home. I know that our families can be together forever, that these essential bonds can really last an eternity.

I know that Jesus is the Christ, that He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, and the Prince of Peace. He offers His gracious forgiving power to all those who choose to follow Him wholeheartedly. He is our Savior and Redeemer. He suffered and died so that we might live and enjoy Eternity in the presence of our Father in Heaven and our beloved brothers and sisters. I testify that His grace is available to all those who accept the offer He made almost 2,000 years ago to, “Come, Follow Me.” May my testimony be recorded both here on earth and in Heaven to serve as a catalyst for all those who are searching for their own. I leave these things with you, one last time, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whom I represent, Amen.

Élder Chapman Tew
Missão Brasil São Paulo Sul
2015 – 2017

June 26°, 2017

Olá!

This past week has been quite an emotional roller coaster. I spent all day Monday in a self-reliance training that’s given by the Church at the end of our missions. The training was given by Pierre Delveaux who is one of the Bishop’s counselors in Baeta-Neves (where I was serving before). We do this training together with the Interlagos mission, so I got to see the Elders from my MTC district! It was cool to see all of them after two years. They look almost the same, but I know they’d all had lots of life changing experiences just like I did. Overall, the training was great! I learned some things that I think will really help me with the transition back to non-missionary life.

After the training, we went to President Broadbent’s apartment to have dinner with him and Sister Broadbent. After the dinner, he asked all of us to share an experience that we’d had on our missions and to splice it with other things we learned and tie it into our testimony. I enjoyed hearing the experiences of the other missionaries and learning a bit more about them and what they learned. By the time my turn came around, I was waist deep in a pool of tears. The Spirit was really strong during the whole gathering.

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The next day we spent at a mission conference where the new missionaries arrived and all the departing missionaries bore their testimonies. I recorded mine and will translate it into English at some point! President and Sister Broadbent spoke to us as well. After the first part was over, some of the departing missionaries had to leave for the airport. It was so strange to see them go especially knowing that so few days were left before my own departure.original
I participated in all these events because I’ll be leaving in the middle of the transfer with Elder Watson. It felt so odd to return to my area to work afterwards. But by the time I woke up the next day, I felt fine again! The new ward that I’m in now for these last couple of weeks seems pretty awesome! The members are nice and we’ve got a nice group of people to teach.

Elder York Westenhaver and Elder Wilson (W.) Souza are my companions for the next few days. I’ll have one more American companion to sit alongside all the Brazilian ones! They’re both great guys and we’re getting along great!

On Saturday, the ward had a Festa Junina activity which is somewhat equivalent to an American Fall Festival. The food, which was comprised of “traditional” Brazilian plates, was wonderful! I’m glad I didn’t miss it!

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We got 6 people to church yesterday! Our goal was at least five so I was happy with the results. After lunch, we worked for a bit before going to the mission office for my companion to get interviewed. He’s leaving this next transfer, so President did interviews with him and all the others who will be leaving as well. He and our other companion, Elder W. Souza, will remain in the area once I’ve left.

We’ve been trying to work hard so that my last two weeks go out with a bang. I’m really excited to see what this next week will hold. In just a few days, I’ll be boarding a plane back to the U.S. of A! I’ll write one more letter next week before I board.

Until then, tchau!
Elder Tew

June 18°, 2017

Hi, All!

These past couple of weeks have, once again, been super busy! I would love to be able to push a “pause” button to stop and catch my breath. I’m currently sitting in the Mission Office awaiting my turn to be interviewed by President Broadbent. Since I’ll be leaving two weeks into the transfer, I’ll be participating in all of the end-of-mission events with the others that’ll be leaving on Tuesday. Tomorrow, we’ll spend the day in a training that the church gives that’s focused on self-sufficiency, followed by dinner at the President’s apartment. On Tuesday, there will be a meeting with the whole mission where we’ll meet the arriving missionaries and bear our testimonies about our missions for them. I don’t think it’s really sunken in yet that I’ll be leaving in two weeks. I feel so strange! I feel excited and ready for the next phase of my life to start, but at the same time I’m not really ready for this phase to end. I suppose that all plays a part! My mind is racing and wandering around as I write this, so I apologize if it lacks coherence.

I found out at 8:15 this morning that I would be transferred this afternoon. President Broadbent called and told me that for the last two weeks I’d be in trio with Elder Westenhaver (American) and Elder W. Souza (Brazilian). We went to church, ate lunch, and ran home so I could pack all my stuff up in 90 minutes and then leave for the Mission Office. I was grateful to have known before church got over so that I could say goodbye to some of the members. I’d been there four months and had been able to develop some pretty great relationships with lots of the members and youth. I was sad to have to say goodbye, but I feel better knowing that technology will allow me to maintain contact with them all once I’ve made it home!

This week we were able to attend the wedding of Renata and her now husband, whose name is Alírio. It was the second time I’d participated in a Brazilian wedding, and this time I was one of the witnesses! From start to finish, the wedding took three hours. Afterwards, we went to her mother’s apartment complex and had a lunch with her family there. Elder Foote and I made brownies with hot fudge sauce and a chocolate mousse pie to take. Both were a hit!

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The following day (Saturday) we had an big stake-wide service project. We spent almost the whole day cleaning up, painting, and otherwise bettering a big park. After it was over, we went home and showered and got dressed to go back to the church for Renata’s baptism. Both she and her son, Gustavo, were baptized. Her family was in attendance. They’re all fairly devout Catholics so it was nice that they were there to support her. We Skyped her daughter, Ana Paula, that’s living in Utah. We had invited her to give a talk and it turned out to be really cool! The Spirit was really strong throughout the whole meeting. We made two different types of cupcakes for treats: red velvet with cream cheese frosting, and chocolate with Nutella frosting. I got the recipies from one of the ward members, Melissa, who has a small baking business that she runs with her family out of their home. We bought the ingredients (which are SUPER expensive here… like $60 US) and stayed up late to make everything. It turned out well and all were happy so I guess it was a success!

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Other than that, I can’t really think of any other really exciting events to relate. Elder Foote and I worked hard these past couple of weeks trying to find new people to teach, and trying to help out those that we were already teaching.

I can say that I love missionary work and my role in it. My mission has been one of the most wonderful experiences that I’ve had thus far in my life. I’ve learned so much, and have gained a much stronger testimony. I feel much more prepared to take on life now than I ever did before. I know my Father in Heaven loves each one of us individually, and that he wants our best. I know that He has a plan for all of us, and that Christ’s Atonement plays a crucial role in that plan. I love my Savior, and am eternally grateful for all that He has done on my behalf. I’m going to use the next two weeks to give Him all I’ve got! I guess it’s the least I could do.

I love you all, and thank you for your support. I’m excited to re-encounter everyone in a few short days!

Until then,
Élder Chapman Tew

It looks like Elder Tew ran into another person with heterochromia! Her eyes are blue and brown while his are green and brown.

It looks like Elder Tew ran into another person with heterochromia! Her eyes are blue and brown while his are green and brown.

June 5°, 2017

Hi, All!

The clock is ticking, and the time is passing by faster than I can manage! Things have been great over the past couple of weeks. We’ve been able to find a whole bunch of wonderful new investigators that are really interested in the church, and we’ve also made a lot of progress with the people that we were already teaching.

Here's a group of missionaries being resourceful to fill up a font in a hurry after something went wrong.

Here’s a group of missionaries being resourceful to fill up a font in a hurry after something went wrong.

Our ward here is wonderful! As we were sitting in church last week I started to think about how much they help us, how they treat their callings, etc. In Gospel Principles, for example, the Elders Quorum President and the Bishop are almost always present, as well as a few other members we put with our investigators to help them out. While in a Priesthood Executive Council meeting a few weeks ago, the new Elders Quorum president talked about how they had fasted and prayed to know what to do to help out their quorum with home teaching visits, who they should pair with who, etc. I can see lots of desire on their behalf to better their ward and so far it’s working out great! There’s one recent convert in particular here who was baptized with his wife in January. His name is Rafael. He actively searches for opportunities to take time out of his busy schedule to help us out. If we ever ask him for anything he’s immediately willing to help out. One day this week, we stopped by and asked him for a reference of anyone he might know that we could teach. He called us later that night and told us to be at his house the next day at 4 PM to teach the son of one of his employees. He’s a perfect example of a member missionary!

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The past couple of weeks we’ve seen lots of success with Renata! She and her kids are progressing wonderfully. As we’ve been over to visit her, we’ve often found her reading the Gospel Principles book, and have been told about all kinds of documentaries and things that she’s watched on Youtube about the Church and the Book of Mormon. Thankfully she’s found the good stuff and not the bad! She’s got an awesome testimony and will be baptized next weekend!

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So this week we had an interesting experience with a thief. We were walking to an appointment and passed in front of the home of a guy that we’d taught briefly a couple of times before. He was super happy to see us and invited us inside. His house is one long narrow room that’s probably about 3/4 the size of my bedroom at home. His furniture consists of a twin bed, a small stove, a refrigerator, and a small armoire. We sat down and talked to him for a bit, asked him how his life was going, etc. He told us he had broken up with his girlfriend and was having a rough time. We soon learned that he’d started robbing people to make ends meet. We noticed that we were sitting right beside a woman’s purse and that its contents were dumped out all over his bed. We talked to him about how that wasn’t something that he should be doing, how he needed to stop and repent, and how the Lord would bless him for it. I could tell that he really trusted us so I decided to ask him to give me her bag, cards, ID, and anything else that he was just going to throw away so that I could get them back to the person. He’d already taken the money and sold her phone at that point. I felt somewhat prompted to do that, even though the thought scared me. He agreed, and gave us all her stuff. That night we were able to use a bill she had in her bag to locate where she lived. We called the gate guard (who’s number we found on someone’s phone using the Almighty Google) at her apartment complex and asked him to give her our contact information. The next day her husband came and picked up the bag from us. It was a rather unique experience!

Well, I guess that’s it for today. I love you all so much, and I thank you for your consistent love and support!

Até mais,

Élder Chapman Tew

May 22°, 2017

Olá!

Well, it’s been another fast week! Since it was the week of transfers we had lots of abnormal events that took place. On Tuesday we went to the transfer meeting where the new missionaries arrive and the ones that are finishing their missions bear their final testimonies. I requested permission from President to go so that I could say goodbye to Elder Raulino (now known as Bruno). He was my first companion in the mission field as well as my trainer, and we’ve maintained a strong bond throughout both of our missions. I was sad to see him go, but excited for him to get started on the next part of his life. I received a letter from him today letting me know that he arrived at home safely and was well received. I was a little nervous that his family wouldn’t be there to support him, but it turns out that almost his entire ward was waiting for him in the arrivals terminal. He feels good and has had a great start to his new life so far!

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Thursday we had a Mission Leadership Council meeting at President Broadbent’s house. We woke up early that day to get a ride with a member (Homero) that works close to there. We were able to get a quick tour of his business before heading to President’s house. We spent almost the entire day there and got back just in time to help teach the advanced English class in our ward building that night.

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Despite all the extracurricular activies that took place this week, we were still able to teach 42 lessons, take 6 people to church this Sunday, find 18 new investigators, and maintain 7 people on date for baptism. We’ve made some goals to add a whole bunch of people to our teaching pool. President Broadbent has asked that we try to maintain around 40 people progressing towards baptism at all times. We’re like half way there, and working hard to hit the goal!

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I’ve learned to recognize more clearly how Satan works against those that we teach. As soon as he sees that they’re doing something good in their life he starts trying to mess them up. We’ve got one man that we’ve been teaching for like two months that hasn’t been baptized yet because he’s struggling to stop smoking. Since it’s a habit that he’s had for over 40 years, it’s proved to be really difficult for him to stop. This week, however, he’s seemed to have found a lot more willpower to fight against the temptations. He’s gone several days without smoking, and then ends up smoking one or two cigarettes before stoping again. We’re almost there!

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Today marks six weeks from my departure date. It doesn’t seem real at all. I’ve immersed myself in the missionary life and it’s hard to imagine actually being outside of it anymore. I’m determined to make my last six weeks count, and give my all until the very last minute that I have here. This is an experience that I’ve waited for my whole life, and will remember for the rest of my life afterwards. I’ve got to make the most of it while I’m still here! There are lots of God’s children that still need to hear my testimony.

I love you all, and thank you, once again, for all your love and support.
Élder Chapman Tew

May 15°, 2017

Olá!

Another day, another Real spent! Time seems to be slipping through my fingers. I can’t believe that in seven weeks I’ll be back home!

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We’ve had lots of progress made with the people we’re teaching, and we’ve recently found a bunch of new people to teach that look promising. Last Sunday night, one of our investigators was run over by a car. Well, he’s actually the father of one of our investigators. He had fought with his son and was inebriated. He decided that it was not worth living anymore and walked straight into the freeway that runs along the side of our area. The oncoming car was able to swerve a bit and he hit the side of the car rather than the front. We had just arrived at his house when his family got the news. They jumped in the car and went to go see what had happened. We made our way there and found him laying in the middle of the road all cut up and out of it. He was moving and moaning. We got there just as the ambulance arrived. They whisked him away to the hospital. He’s now alright, but still in the hospital. His lung was punctured so he’s staying there until it heals up. Lots of fun!

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Renato, whom we’ve been teaching for a month or so, was supposed to be baptized last week but was not. He got to church with all his stuff in hand and was all ready to go. Right before the last hour was about to start, he said that he had to go home to resolve things with his wife. We later found out that he had texted her during church to tell her that he was going to be baptized and she, obviously, kind of freaked out! We went there during this last week to talk to her about everything. She’s still not super comfortable with his baptism, but we believe that everything will work out for him to be baptized this week.

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Renata, who is the woman with two kids that we’ve been teaching, told us last Sunday night that she was ready to prepare herself for baptism! It’s been a long battle with her, trying to get her to go to church and keep the commitments that she makes with us, but we’ve finally reached the point where she’s really excited about it. She told us later in the week about some problems she’s been having in her life, principally with her divorce from her now ex-husband. She said that in her hour of need she looked to the Book of Mormon, the Liahona articles, and prayed to receive comfort. We’re beyond excited to see how wonderfully she’s progressed in the last few weeks!

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As I sat in sacrament meeting yesterday trying to entertain Renata’s 8 year-old son Gustavo, I stopped for a minute to think about how happy I was in that moment. I identified clearly in my mind a number of recent situations in which I’ve been able to feel an overwhelming outpouring of joy from my soul. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is centered on love and the constant search to become better in an effort to be able to return back to God’s presence some day. Being 100% involved in the work of spreading the Gospel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week has taught me how wonderfully full of the Spirit our lives can be if we but search to fill it with His presence. Missionary work makes me so happy! It’s really hard at times, but it’s totally worth it when I’m able to see the difference that it has made in my own life, and the lives of those I teach.

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I thank the Lord daily for the things that He’s done in my life over the past 22 months. I feel as if I’ve progressed emotionally and spiritually more in that time than I could have in 20 years had I decided not to serve a mission. I testify that Christ lives, that He loves us, and that He wants our best. He never will abandon us even though we often choose to abandon Him. All of us are qualified to receive bountiful blessings by His hand if we do our very best to live the commandments and repent of our errors. There does not exist a “point of no return” as far as our salvation goes. Christ has given all of us the invitation to follow Him, and quite the reception awaits for all those who accept it.

With much love,
Élder Chapman Tew

May 1°, 2017

Olá!

This past week has once again passed by in a blur. The days pass by in the blink of an eye. Every time I stop to think, the time I have in Brazil gets shorter and shorter. July 3rd is only two months away! In some emails I’ve exchanged with my other mission colleagues, we’ve all reached the conclusion that time does, indeed, fly.

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I had kind of a funny experience at the end of last week that I forgot to write about. After zone conferences, Élder Foote and I had to go with Élder Pulley and Élder Gaona to do baptismal interviews for three young men they were preparing to baptize this last week. We took a bus to get to our area, and then one more bus to get to where these boys live. Right as we got close to their house, we got off the bus and stepped into a light rain. We asked Élder Pulley where these boys lived. And he, in response, pointed towards a large, ominous hill that seemed to lead straight to the sky.

As we started to climb the incline, the light rain began to intensify into an outright downpour. The road we were walking soon turned into a rain gutter as the streams of water along the sides of the road widened until the entire road was covered by one continuous water rapid. Our slow, steady pace quickened until we were in a flat out sprint to the top. Naturally not one of us brought an umbrella, so within seconds we were all soaked! The funniest part is that we were all laughing like a bunch of fools! When we got to the person’s house, we were all dripping wet and tired. However, the work was all worth it! The boys were baptized last week.

I’ve started to take advantage of the variety of fruits that are available here in Brazil. This last week I bought 48 oranges (to make juice), bananas, mangoes, limes, a pineapple, passion fruit, avocadoes, kale, beets, and carrots. I’ve invented a whole variety of juices using different combinations of all of these. My favorites are orange juice with lime and kale as well as passion fruit juice with beets!

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We’ve continued to teach Renato throughout these last weeks. He’s proved to be an absolutely wonderful person and a truly golden investigator! He has been marked to be baptized this next week. We hope that everything works out!

We’re also making great progress with Renata. She and her children have been coming to church the past two weeks. She’s shown a lot more interest and desire as of late. We hope to get them all on date here soon.

On Sunday night, we found ourselves with two hours to go until we needed to be home and we hadn’t met our goals for the week for new investigators and investigators with a baptismal date. We went to one of our investigator’s homes to try and find his wife and children who he said would be home and would want to hear our message. We were pleased to find his wife and two sons there all ready and willing to talk with us! Within a few minutes, Jeferson’s wife (Priscilla) transformed from a closed and quiet person into a happy and smiling one as she opened her heart to our words.

We left their house and made our way towards another investigator’s house. One the way there, I felt impressed to knock on the door of an ex-investigator of ours. He was not there, but his mother and sister were. We spent the better part of the next hour talking with them about the church. By the time we left, both of them had a baptismal date marked and were super excited to learn more about Christ’s Restored Gospel. Had we not been determined to meet our goals, we wouldn’t have met all these wonderful people!

I’m loving my mission and the opportunity that I have to serve the Lord at this time! I love you all and thank you for your love and support!

Élder Tew

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April 24°, 2017

Hi, All!

These last couple of weeks have seemed to have flown by in a blur. Since this transfer is just 5 weeks long, in two days we’ll already be in the middle of it! It’s crazy to think about. We’ve found some really interesting people to teach, though, and we’re excited to see where things go.

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I had to opportunity to interview a young man before his baptism last week for some of the other Elders in our zone. I was suprised to find out that, at 11 years-old, he’d had a number of interesting experiences in his life. It was a testament to me that Satan has gotten really good at his job, and is starting to attack people at younger and younger ages. Thankfully this young man was repentant, and had the desire to change his life and enter onto the straight and narrow path that can lead him to eternal life.

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This week we had zone conferences! Ours was on Friday. President talked a lot about goals and doing our best. He gave some examples to show us how we can be somewhat narrow-minded when we set our goals. We don’t always really push ourselves, but rather shoot for the more attainable goal. It’s really helped Elder Foote and I open our eyes a bit, and we’ve got some pretty impressive goals for this next week!

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We started teaching a man named Guimarães several weeks ago who has been making some awesome progress these last few days. He’s been trying to stop smoking, so we’re working on him with that so that he can be baptized. We’re ALMOST there!

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We also started teaching a man this last week named Renato. He made contact with the missionaries on Mormon.org and requested that we take him a Book of Mormon. He’s proved to be an awesome guy! He said that he “identified [him]self” with Joseph Smith’s story, and wants to learn more about the church. He’s an awesome guy, and will make a wonderful member someday soon! He went to church yesterday with us and wanted to stay to watch the other Elder’s baptism afterwards to “see how it works”. :)

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I’ve thought a lot this week about how happy that missionary work makes me. I’ve been able to feel and recognize the eternal happiness that is available to me and others through the Gospel. I’ve learned that the only way that we can be truly happy is by keeping the commandments that the Lord has given us, and seeking to do His will in all things.

I love you all, and I’m ever so greatful for your love and support!

Élder Chapman Tew

April 10°, 2017

Olá!

This past week was awesome! It was a little different than most, just like last week was!

On Tuesday, we had a P-Day with the entire mission. We all met up in the Botanical Gardens in São Paulo. The day was full of a bunch of field-day type events involving all the zones, a big lunch, and a talent show. It was fun to get together with everyone to be able to talk with some of the missionaries that I already knew, as well as get to know some of the others that I had yet to meet.

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The day of the Mission P-Day, we left the park around 5:30 and went to a nearby hospital. I had an ingrown toenail and needed to get it cut out. It was hurting every time I bumped into something, as well as bleeding and secreting a bit of pus so I thought it was time to get it looked at! We went to the hospital by the Mission Office and they weren’t able to resolve anything. We got out late, and ended up sleeping at the secretaries’ house rather than travel home late. It was cool to get to spend some time with them a bit, and try out the new pizza place they found! We woke up early the next morning to get home and back to our routine.

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On Thursday morning, we went to a hospital in our area for me to see a doctor that I had heard was good with ingrown toenails. He ended up cutting out a nice slice of my nail that same day (after applying a local anesthetic). As we left there just after lunch my toe started throbbing. He told me that the first day would be rough and that after that I would be fine. We went home and I took some pain meds and rested for a few hours before we went back out to work that night.

This week we had a cool lesson with the man named Guimarães that we’re teaching. He had a problem with smoking, so we made “chá de fumo” for him. It’s essentially a tea made from the tobacco leaves from a few cigarettes. It’s absolutely revolting, but helps those who smoke to not have the desire to do so any more. Guimarães said the next day that just the thought of smoking make him nauseous! He’s progressing really well, and should be baptized in another week or two!

This week we baptized Ana Karoline (Carol) and Lívia. Carol is the sister of the girl we baptized last week, Grazieli. Her mom stood up during the baptismal meeting and declared that she would be baptized if we could get her 17 year-old son to go to church for two weeks. Needless to say, we’re planning on baptizing the two of them in a few short weeks! Lívia is the daughter of two members that went inactive for a time. We’re working together with her family to help get them back in shape!

Today is transfer day! I will remain in my current area (Yay!) and my companion, Elder Capello, will be transferred. He’s been designated as the new Assistant to the President. He’s an awesome Elder and will do a wonderful job! My new companion will be Elder Foote, who, until today, was one of the district leaders in our zone. He’ll be my first American companion! I’m excited to see what these next few weeks will hold.

A few weeks ago a decision was made that my return date would be changed. I’ll now be returning home on July 3rd, to arrive in Florida on July 4th! I’ll be accompanied by Elder Watson who’s from South Carolina. I’m both excited and sad. I’m ready for the next stage of my life to begin, but at the same time I’m not quite yet ready to let go of this one. I love missionary work, and the changes that it has wrought on my life, and the lives of those whom I’ve been privileged to teach.

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My mom asked me today, “what are the three biggest things that you’ve learned on your mission?” My response was:
Repentance is not something that is negative in any way, shape, or form, but rather something that is extremely positive and should be an important part of our lives. Before my mission I often imagined repentance as something humiliating, embarassing, or unimaginably hard. But it’s not! The Lord delights in our repentance. He loves us, and desires that we become more like Him. To do so, we must pass through the same situations that He Himself passed through at some point in His existence. We must be tried and tested so that we can become better and more experienced. Repentance is the only manner by which we can truly become Godly. I’ve learned that Christ’s Atonement is sufficient for all of us. There is no “point of no return”. He will always accept us if we present a broken heart and contrite spirit unto Him. As much as I’ve learned about the Atonement and Jesus Christ, I’ve also learned about the Enemy. After the Heavenly Counsel in which Lucifer presented his plan unto God and was rejected, he rebeled against God and took 1/3 of all the heavenly hosts with him. When they left the presence of God they didn’t pass through the Veil of Forgetfulness like we did. They came straight here. Since the very moment in which man stepped foot on planet earth Satan and his minions have been doing everything they can to ruin our progress and make us “miserable like unto [themselves]”. They know us since we were in our pre-mortal state, have been here with us since we were born, and have always been paying attention to our every move so that they can know better how to mess us up. The evil force that is against righteousness is very real, and very powerful. I think that we forget that at times, and forget how really important it is. We must recognize Satan and his power, and then do everything that we can to build up our shields and battle armor to be prepared when the moment comes to fight against him, be it something big or small. I’ve learned how to recognize the presence of the Spirit and how to seek for that presence constantly. I can tell the difference between the moments in which he is with me and those in which he is not. I’ve learned that keeping the commandments and searching to do my best at doing so brings the spiritual power necessary to do all that Heavenly Father has asked of me.

I’m so grateful for this Gospel, and for my Savior Jesus Christ. I’m proud to be His representative at this point in my life. This mission experience is changing my life completely, and I’ll be forever grateful for it. I love you all, and I thank you for all that you do to love and support me!

Até Mais,
Élder Chapman Tew

Abril 3°, 2017

Hi, all!

This past week was awesome! On Tuesday we went to the Temple in São Paulo. It’s always a wonderful experience to be able to take some time off from our busy missionary schedule to do some work within the Temple. I intend to make temple attendance an integral part of my week while living in Utah and studying at BYU.

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Elder Capello and Elder Tew

Elder Capello and Elder Tew

We worked this week to prepare Graziely for baptism. She and and her sister, Carol, and her mother, Vera, have been accepting the discussions the last two weeks. Carol will be baptized next week, and their mother as soon as she can get some things worked out! They’re an awesome family. They have an older brother that has showed some interest as well. Graziely was baptized in between the General Conference sessions on Sunday. We had a joint baptism with some of the other Elders from our zone that were watching conference in our ward building. It was sweet!

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We’ve been teaching a man named Guimarães. He’s a little older and has been very receptive to all that we’ve had to teach. Every time we go to his house he’s felt the Spirit so much that he’s cried, and always wants to hug us as we leave. He’s an awesome person, and has lots of desire to leave behind his sins and follow Christ’s example.

General Conference was wonderful! It’s like Christmas for missionaries. We were able to take a few people to the sessions and they all loved it! We’re blessed to be able to hear the words of the living prophets of God here on the earth today. Although God never changes and His teachings are the same today as they were a thousand years ago, the manner in which we learn them has changed over time. Today we have the privilege of having the fullness of the Gospel on the earth brought to us through restored Priesthood authority.

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Throughout my mission I’ve been able to strengthen my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, and the power of the Priesthood. I’m thankful to have been born to such awesome parents in a home where the Gospel is present. As expressed in one of the conference talks, it is extrememly important that we all gain our own personal testimony of these things, through which we can remain strong even in times of weakness or struggle.

I bear witness that Jesus is The Christ, and that he Atoned for our sins. I know that we are all capable of being forgiven of all of our sins if we show the Lord that we have a broken heart and contrite spirit. There is no hole deep or dark enough that we might have dug for ourselves that we can’t climb back out of with Christ’s help. He loves us and delights in our repentance. In doing so, we are taking part of the blessings offered to us through his atoning sacrifice. I invite all to come unto Christ and partake of the sweet blessings that await us as we follow Him diligently. I leave these things with you all in His name, Amen.

-Élder Chapman Tew