My baby brother Derek Stevens has been called to serve in the Porto Alegre Brazil Mission. He will be speaking Portugues and teaching and serving the people of Brazil for 24 months. His goal is to bring those he meets closer to Christ. He has put his life on hold to volunteer for this service and I couldn't be more proud of him. And though I selfishly want him home I know he will never regret his time in the service of God and he'll never forget the people and lessons he will learn. I served my own mission in Boston, MA and I will tell you it is much easier to be the one that's gone. Being on this side of things has been a much harder and painful process. But I know the Lord is with him, I know he has a plan for him, he has prepared people for my baby bro to teach and people who will teach him in return. I know my brother will come home a different person and I look forward to meeting him.
I've created this blog to keep everyone updated on his progress and experiences. I hope this is helpful and I encourage comments on how I can improve this blog or maybe ideas on what you'd like to see. I'll do my best to post regularly.
For those unfamiliar with Mormon missions. Missionaries volunteer their time for 24 or 18 months at the age of 18+. They can be called to serve anywhere in the world with the exception of a few countries. They don't go to school, they don't date, they don't watch movies or TV. Their time 24/7 is completely focused on studying the scriptures or teaching materials, teaching people, or service projects. Missionaries are not paid and they do not accept payments for their service. They have one day a week (usually Mondays) called Preparation Day (P day), where they take time off their usual duties to prepare for the rest of the week. This can include doing laundry, cleaning the apartment, buying groceries, sightseeing, resting, and most importantly writing letters home. Missionaries can only write letters on their P day and can only call home on Christmas and Mother's Day. This is done to help keep their focus on their work and encourage a closer relationship with the Lord. I can personally testify that this does in fact help in that regard, though it may seem harsh at first, I often found myself praying more often and listening more carefully for answers when calling my parents wasn't an option.
Missionaries are trained for their service in Missionary Training Centers (MTC). My brother was sent to one located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He will stay there for 6 weeks. There he will learn the basics of Portugues and how to teach the missionary lessons found in his text book Preach My Gospel (PMG).
He will be taught to adjust every lesson to each person he teaches and to listen to the guidance of the Lord.
Upon entering the MTC every missionary is assigned a companion and they will remain with them throughout their time in the MTC. Once they leave and are dispersed to their assigned areas within their mission they will be placed with another companion. Missionaries always travels in twos.
I plan to post Derek's emails and letters as they come us. I will be editing or adjusting theses communications in order to respect the privacy of those mentioned and Derek himself.
Please let me now if you have questions regarding terminology or missions in general. I'm also posting a link Mormon.org. This is a fantastic website with information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But I'm also open to answering any questions you may have or if you'd like to start a discussion.
The best of luck and blessings to all! And remember to keep Elder Derek Stevens in your prayers.