Monday, January 19, 2015


Well I have arrived ladies and gentlemen. It has been a pretty interesting week. My new companion doesn’t speak English, but he has a lot of patience. It takes a while but we figure things out.  The two other missionaries in our apartment could speak a little but they are leaving tomorrow because an elder from another district is going home. So now we have the whole apartment and area to ourselves. My area is a neighborhood called Mathias in the city of Conoas. 

The ward mission leader is great. They are a family of five wonderful people. The dad is really goofy. He is also a policeman. On my first day they gave me some type of drink. I think it was called chamodio or something like that. It is a cup full of green grass and green power (the greenies). You pour hot water in the cup and suck it out with a special straw. At first I felt like I was breaking the word of wisdom or something but it wasn’t too bad. We spent New Year’s with them and had some Brazilian Bar B Que (Charrasco). It was AWESOME some of the best meat I have ever had (sorry dad). 

The main meal of the day is lunch. Every day we have been here we have had the opportunity to go to members homes and have a giant lunch, so needless to say we haven’t gone hungry. 

Our area is pretty big. Now that the other missionaries are leaving we have an even bigger area to cover.

Again the people are pretty great. Our ward is awesome. I really like it here. It is hard, hot, and people are lighting chickens on fire in the streets but I love serving these people. Whenever I have doubts or homesickness, serving always seems to give me peace. I love you guys. Know that I am safe and in good hands. Have a great week!

Elder Stevens

The eagle has landed!


Hello! Here from Brazil Porto Alegre North, we are very excited to have your son here to serve with us. He arrived safe and sound and is already working a lot! We took a picture of him with President and Sister Wright and he wrote a short letter to let you know that he is ok. If you have any questions, contact us.

Elder Gerber
Missão Porto Alegre Norte

A short message from Derek was included in the email:

Well I am here in Porto Alegre!!! I just got my new companion and we are about to head out! I love you guys and I am so grateful for your support! I will write more later!

- Elder Stevens

Call from Sister Wright

(I got an email from my Mom while at work. I'd thought I should share)


Just thought I would let you know that we received a call from Derek's mission president's wife.

Sister Wright had a lot of good things to say about him. They are really impressed of his faith. She picked them up at the airport. Their only senior couple is in the field and there are no secretaries yet to pick the missionaries up.

They sent them out right away to proselyte. She said it works best for them to do that. That will have their interviews with MP later.

It was a very nice surprise.

Hope you are doing well.




This week was great! We had a great Christmas celebration, and we are all excited to head out into the field on Tuesday! This week went by really fast. We have one more day of classes with our instructors tomorrow. We are all working really hard to keep pushing ourselves in the language and in or lessons. The language is still hard but it is getting a lot better every day.

Christmas was really nice. We had sport activities in the morning, a paper airplane contest, a great lunch, awesome time to speak with the fam, an amazing devotional by Elder Nelson from the Provo MTC, ice cream, and a ton of fun games. It was a little hard being away from the family during this holiday. But once we were able to call home it made it a lot easier. I am so glad you guys are doing well. I hope you guys had a good time at the Grand America. I also hope it is not too cold. If you need to warm up, come on down, it is like a sauna down here.

The temple was great today! We went to the Campinas Temple.The temple was really beautiful. It was farther away from the city surrounded by rolling hills and lush vegetation. It also smelt really fresh outside the temple. It was definitely a great way to start our last p-day.

I am out of time. I love you guys have a great week. I will write you next from Porto Alegre!

Elder Stevens


This week was GREAT! So many things happened so I will just give you guys the Highlights. Our district is getting a lot better at the language. My companion is awesome as ever and in 11 days we leave for the mission field! Time for some experiences.
On Wednesday night we got two new Brazilian roommates, at around 11:00 after we all went to bed. One of our roommates had a seizure. At first I heard him say something in Portuguese then he started hitting his bed post. I had no idea what was happening. I thought I was dreaming. Eventually we figured it out and turned on the lights. He fell out of bed and onto the floor. My companion jumped off the bunk bed like superman and helped our roommate out. I sent Elder B and Elder M to get help. Luckily my companion's dad used to have seizures so he knew what to do. It only lasted about 5 minutes. Afterward we got him cleaned up and gave him a blessing. This was a pretty amazing experience. The spirit was very strong. Elder B gave the blessing and it was great. Even though he gave it in English our roommate understood. So that was the first experience I wanted to share. Second, I gave my first blessing yesterday. A sister in my District asked me to give her a blessing because she was feeling a lot of stomach pain. So before we started class we gave her a blessing. I was pretty nervous since I had no idea what I was doing, luckily our teacher was there, and the other elders helped me out. It was pretty amazing. I don't think I have ever felt like that before. As I gave the blessing I felt such peace and calmness. I felt the spirit really strong. It just reminded me that we were here to serve others by being tools in Heavenly Father’s hands. After the blessing I couldn't remember what I said but I knew they weren't my words. I am so grateful for this opportunity to be here. These past few weeks have been really hard but also really rewarding. I can't wait to go into the field. I know it will be even harder out there but I also know it will be rewarding.

Feliz Natal everyone! Have a great Holiday!


Hey guys! This week was pretty great! The main thing that happened was we went proselyting on Wednesday. We all had to give out 2 books of Mormon, so our Irmão took us on a bus to downtown São Paulo. On the bus my companion and I talked with a mother and her daughter. They were really nice. My companion talked most the time. I was kind of able to make comments and understand what was happening. There was a group of women on the bus that I guess were making fun of us. Irmão Benatti told me (in English) to not listen to what they were saying about us. I told him the joke was on them because I didn't understand what they were saying. I guess that's one of the perks of learning a new language in 6 weeks. I only know how to talk about the gospel and where people are from. Anyway we gave a Book of Mormon to the mother and 2 to the group of women who were laughing at us before. They seemed interested on what we had to say about Christ.

Benatti took us downtown into a major part of the city. It was amazing! Of course it was old and dirty and there were a ton of homeless people but it just felt right. I felt the spirit anyway. I know that I am supposed to be here in this awesome country. I had one Book of Mormon left and it was mine to give out. My companion and I walked around for about twenty minutes while I built up the courage to talk with someone. We met two members and a few drunken people. Finally the weather turned and everyone knew what was about to happen. People were running to get under buildings or umbrellas. So it was now or never. I saw an old man on this bridge and I started a conversation with him about Christmas, Christ and the Book of Mormon. Luckily my companion was there to help me speak and understand what was going on. In the end I gave him my last Book of Mormon. It felt really good. At that moment it started to pour rain. Our entire district was soaked as we headed back to the bus station. I am so grateful to be here and experience this crazy adventure. I know it is only going to get crazier but I also know that I have you guys and Heavenly Father to support me.

Love you guys have a great week!

Elder Stevens


Hi everyone. This week has been a lot better, still hard but better. The language is getting easier. I know the Lord is helping me a lot with learning it. The CTM is now feeling a lot more like home. Thanks so much for the pictures of Thanksgiving! I don't know if I told you guys but we had a Thanksgiving dinner here at the CTM. It was during lunch time because that is the big meal of the day here in Brazil. We had turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. All the other days of the week we have mostly Brazilian food. Some of it is really good, some of it is bad, and some of it is just weird. The food has weird textures. It may taste good but the texture seems way off from American food. All in all they keep us well feed.
Last Sunday my companion and I were called to be Zone Leaders. Yep that's right! At the time we only had one and half weeks of experience here, it was surprising. Also I have the most trouble with the language. So far it hasn't been too difficult though. We just make assignments and stuff.
This week we turned on the CTM Christmas lights. I don't know what we are doing for Christmas but I am sure it will be good. Sorry I couldn't send pictures with the last email. I ran out of time and the guy was yelling at me in Portuguese so I just sent the email. This time I was planning on trying again but I didn't bring my cable. So next week I will try to send some. I am out of time so thanks again for your support.

I love you all, I love you each. Have a good week.