Elder Steven Matthew Untch began his 2 year Full-Time Mission at the Provo Utah MTC on March 27, 2013.
On May 6, 2013 he headed to labor in the Florida Orlando Mission while waiting for his visa. On July 29, 2013 he flew from Orlando to Joao Pessoa Brazil.
Please note . . . Elder Untch will not be logging onto this blog during his mission. However, Mom will keep it updated with details and pictures from his letters. Any comments or posts left by family and friends, she will print off and mail to him, so PLEASE POST. Thanks for your interest in Elder Untch's EXCITING Missionary Experiences!
Monday, May 13, 2013
1st Letter from Florida
I can't believe I'm sending an email...I feel like I haven't been at a computer in who knows how long!
For those who didn't know my VISA hasn't arrived in my 6-week period at the MTC so I got reassigned to the Florida, Orlando Mission for a temporary reassignment.
The Sunday night before I left Chase Lewis who was a Tight End for the Philly Eagles spoke to us. He caught the game winning touchdown that sent his team to the Super Bowl against the Patriots. Don't take this wrong but it was nice to have a "pep-talk" as the last MTC Devotional instead of a super spiritual one. It really motivated me to try hard in everything I do. I really connect to athletes when they talk. But I'm out of the MTC now...its been fun but I was ready to go.
So on a connection flight from Salt Lake to Phoenix I sat next to a Sister Butler and this Mexican guy. We started talking to him and we came to find out he is a pastor from Omaha. He was so cool and his beliefs were very very similar to ours. Anyway it was all good until we talked about the Book of Mormon. He had a very valid concern...why would Joseph Smith receive revelation about the Book of Mormon if the Bible has the fullness of the Gospel? After explaining Joseph Smith TRANSLATED the Book of Mormon we bore testimony. Then we turned to Moroni 10:3-5. And the message in those verses were just so powerful he didn't have any more questions. What a great first experience in the field!! Sadly we didn't influence him to read the Book of Mormon but he gave us his card so we could email him about life and how our missions are going. He is a wonderful guy!
Anyway...ORLANDOOOOO! Here's some quick things that come to mind: 1) My mission president is President Garth Hall. My mission president in Brasil is President Gordon Hall. Yes they are brothers! How cool is that?! I guess I need to spread the good word about myself. 2) I had McDonald's for the first time in like two months. Sadly I was really excited about that. 3) I saw my first gator. I was going to get a picture but he hid himself before I could get to him. He had to of been like 5 feet long. 4) Orlando doesn't have very many open neighborhoods. It seems every place to proselyte is in a gated community with tall gates, security guards, and cameras. No, I haven't broken any laws but we've had some "tussles" with security. 5) The humidity and weather here remind me soooo much of Missouri. Its crazy! But hey Brasil will be hotter so I love it here.
My first companions here in Brasil are Elders Delgado and Costa. Both of them are from Brasil! Costa is the senior companion from Sao Paulo. Delgado is from Recife. Both of them are obsessed with Star Wars and LEGOS. I absolutely love these guys! What a wonderful opportunity to learn Portuguese also. I'm not very good still and I'm even worse talking to fluent investigators but am learning which is all that matters.
My area is huge! We only teach Portuguese investigators and it covers the whole west side of the mission. There is this area of all Portuguese and Spanish speakers. The ward we go to is a Spanish Branch. We only had two hours of Church because it was Mother's Day. That was kind of nice.
Missionaries also do temple service here. If you haven't seen the picture of this temple it is absolutely gorgeous! Anyway we're pulling up weeds and all of a sudden this 6 foot snake just totally bolts and hides itself under the temple. It freaked us out but it was totally harmless. In fact we tried to get it out of the hole but it wouldn't come back out.
We met this family who moved from Brasil three months ago. The husband has stroke problems so he's blind at the moment. The mother and son have little English. But right now we will be giving them English lessons and hopefully they can have the Gospel in their life. Gustavo (the father) told us when he was having surgery and lost his sight he said his spirit came out of his body and he saw the other side of the veil. He said hes not afraid to die but he wants to do better in his life. We could totally see the Gospel in his life in the near future.
The best experience here so far was with a 19 year old girl named Alexandra. She is also from Brasil and the past missionaries taught her once or twice. But anyway we invited her to the temple tour. A temple tour is where non-members walk around the temple while a member of the Mission Presidency talks about the Restoration, roles of temples/church meetings, etc. Anyway we finished and the Spirit was strong so we took Alexandra to a bench and talked. Then she asked what is baptism and the importance. <---a missionaries dream question! So we told her about the companionship of the Holy Ghost could be with her always if she was baptized. We now have a baptism date with her! It is a pure miracle because this Portuguese area hasn't had anyone attend sacrament meeting or get baptized since last August. The date is set for June 15 so I pray I'll be here when she gets baptized!
I was so excited to Skype home yesterday! I found out later that the house I Skype'd from used to be the house of J.J. Reddick when he played for the Orlando Magic. If anyone doesn't know him he sadly played for Duke but he was very good. But that house was HUGE and I was talking to my family from a movie theater. I was so excited to talk to my mommy and family though. I sure am grateful for everything you have done Mom! I love you so much. I wouldn't be here without you!
I appreciate the prayers and support. I love you all! I'll send pictures in a future date...I don't have a lot of time.
Elder Steven Untch
P.S. My zone leader Elder Finke says he loves everybody... :)