Elder Shane B Lee

Elder Shane B Lee

Shane Can Be Reached @

This is the Mission Home address.
Elder Shane Burnham Lee
Brazil Cuiaba Mission
Av. Hist. Rubens de Mendonca, 1731
Sala 10, Bairro: Consil
CSP: 78050-975 Cuiaba - MT
Brazil

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 21 Letter

July 25, 2011
(Answers to our e-mail conversation)
I am good, how are all of you doing?  I saw the blog already and it looks like you are having fun!
I think that I am about 2 and a half hours.  Lucas is quite a bit smaller.  I do not know if it is hotter or not, but there is not shade, so it feels like it.  At least once a week it gets up to 45 C and sometimes more.  Plenty warm.
Hey Ali and Levi!  I saw the picture Levi!  It was awesome.  Alison, good work, although enjoy the cool weather for me.  What I would not give for some 70s and 80s.  When I get back home to the 100 degree weather change I am sure that I am going to die!
Yep, just typing up the official letter to you.  Man, it is hard to think about the past week.  As a missionary everything is so fast, but there is so much going on, and you are so involved in the day that it is hard to think back on the week.  It seems like I just emailed you everything.
Yeah, but this stinking computer will not open my SD card.  I am needing to find a computer (of a member) so that I can manually open it and take the pics off and put them on a new SD card.  So, sorry again for not having any this week but next week I should be able to have all of this figured out.
I know.  I am going to see if I cannot send you some CDs with pics as well.  I have heard that they are easier and cheaper to send than an SD card and less risky for sure.  SD cards here are super expensive.  A 4 gb is about 40 dollars.  Craziness!  A TV here is about $1200 where in the US it would be $189.  Especially here is Lucas.  Everything is expensive because there is not any competition.

Hello everybody! 
So, everything is going well here.  We did not have any baptisms Sunday.  We did have a lady ready, but she decided Saturday that she did not feel ready and would not be baptized.  It was pretty hard, although we will try to continue to help her.  We did find a new family to teach last week.  They are awesome and committed to read the book of Mormon and pray about it.  The dad is a painter (like the guy on TV with a lot of hair).  He is amazing.  We gave him the lesson pamphlet of the 3rd lesson because he wants to paint a picture of the baptism of Christ and put it in his room.  They have 3 boys.  2 of the 3 are married (only 1 legally) and the other still has only 17 yrs.  We have not talked with the kids yet, but the parents are really awesome people so we are super excited about that.  Also, just yesterday we talked with our new neighbor who just moved in to Lucas to teach at the little college here.  He is single, 29, and originally from São Paulo.  He is really smart (perfect investigator) and even knows English.  He talks pretty well, although he can understand much better.  He has been studying and practicing with Americans for a long time.  I tried to explain about my family in English but it was really really hard.  I kept saying words in Portugues and because I was translating from Portuguese in my head I was speaking really formal.  Just imagine in 19 more months, right?  I do not think that I have a problem writing (yeah, I just replaced righting with writing, ironic) because I write in my journal every night in English, but speaking is different.  It has been 3 months since I have had a conversation in English.  I hear English from other missionaries, but I always speak in Portuguese.  Anyways, he is great, really nice guy, and we will start teaching him as well.  Yesterday I blessed the sacrament at church, taught the primary about temples, and later in the evening taught at a fire side about being a member missionary.  I taught about 2 responsibilities as members.  First, to help new members.  New members need three things, 1. a friend  2. a responsibility  and 3. the good word of God.  Second, members have the responsibility to invite members not of our faith.  I used Romans 1:16 and taught that we will be held accountable.  I also quoted the one sentence starter of religious conversation from my dad, `Eu gosto de minha igreja´ or in English `I like my church´.  It went really well.  Elder J Silva and I are getting along really well.  We teach great together and we are working.  As the junior companion I am trying to keep him excited and help him catch a vision of what we can do.  So, what else is new... we have been visiting less active members and helping them remember their conversion stories, which has been fun and we have already seen the fruits.  This Sunday we have 4 people return to church.  Well, I am running out of things to say... That just about sums everything up for this week.  I am really excited for this next week.  Thank you all for your prayers and emails, and have a great week.  Love you all.  Tchau!
Elder Lee

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 20 Letter

July 18, 2011
So, here is the official letter to the family.  Everything is well.  It was really heartbreaking to leave Sinop.  Monday was full of tearful goodbyes.  Brazilians are so sweet.  They will love you if you love them, and loving them is really easy.  Hardest part of the mission so far.  I felt like was leaving my mission!  Elder Melo was a great companion, and we tearfully said goodbye as I jumped on the bus for Lucas.  It was hard.  I cannot even imagine leaving my mission for real.  So, in Lucas the work continues.  Everything is well here.  Elder J. Silva is cool, although I am... what is the word... stressed... no, more sad.  We are doing a lot of walking, and less teaching.  He works hard, but does not quite have my vision.  My vision is that we can baptize a person every week.  He´s vision is to baptize a person every transfer.  As a junior, it is my job to try and help, encourage and support, and learn everything that I can, and so that is what I am doing and everything will be okay, although I cannot help but feel responsible for people that we may be missing out on.  He is good though, and he has a rough background and is doing great.  I know that I have been greatly blessed with my family and background, and that this is special.  I do see a lot of potential is Lucas.  It is smaller than Sinop, but I think that the area is bigger because it is just us 2.  The people have a lot more money as well, so the humility is at a different level.  Really though, I see a ton of potential.  Sunday was good.  The members are awesome.  I think that we have 35 active members here.  The church building is a little different than the buildings that we find in the United States.  It was not built by the church.  It reminds me of the meeting houses that Joseph Smith used.  I like it, although the mosquitos are killers.  I have moved all of my studies to Portugues literature.  The language is becoming much easier, although I have a ton to learn.  I can understand and be understood though, so that is good.  It is amazing how much my ability to listen and speak improves when I am teaching an investigator.  The gift of tongues is super amazing.  So, I really do not have anything else going on.  I am still learning the people in Lucas.  We are teaching 3 families that need to be married.  Marriage always seems to be the problem, huh.  Oh, but in Sinop, Railson and Lei will be married and Railson baptized by the end of this transfer.  I am way excited about that.  Elder Melo is doing well.  Right now I am in Sorriso.  We played soccer today and tomorrow we have a zone meeting.  Elder Melo is here and is was great talking with him.  He told me that he is going to really work on contacts this week to find new people.  It was awesome playing soccer.  We played indoor.  It is like indoor in the United States but there is an out of bounds so you cannot use the walls and the floor is a cement or hardwood floor.  It was fun.  It has been a while since I have played, but after the first game I was back into the swing of things, and I was playing with the Brasilians.  Elder Melo is incredibly good.  He played professional (I forget if I told you that or not).  Anyways, everything is good.  I do remember Scott.  Life is so fragile.  I was just reading in 1 Peter 4:12 (I think that is right), and it says, don´t think that it is a strange thing when trails come.  I was thinking of my life, and I really have not had many trials, so this scripture was easy to accept.  I cannot imagine the way Scott´s family is feeling.  It is good to hear that they are firm and strong, and growing closer.  Life really is interesting. `People focus on this life so much and live in the moment only to have it taken away in a single blow.  This life is so unreal, isn´t it?  Everyone want happiness in the eternal life to come, members and nonmembers, but the temptation of sin becomes a mist of darkness and many lose sight of the eternities and focus their eyes one things that are just an illusion.  This is my purpose as a missionary.  To invite all people to leave the pleasures that have an end, and take hold of a savior who will give them unending happiness here and in the world to come, through faith on him and his infinite atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost who brings sanctification and purification, and the ever-important principle of enduring to the end.  It is a hard work.  Not because of the physical demanding tasks, or even the mentally demanding tasks, but it is hard because in this work, there are people who refuse and reject their Savior and Friend for the fickle and falsely desirable things of this world, and allow themselves, whether it be because of their actions or their lack of action, to be spiritual bond in the chains of the devil, who wants to lead them down to an everlasting misery and endless wo.  There is also no work more desirable.  Seeing a person catch the outreached hand of the savior and accept his graceful sacrifice, and change their lives, and follow him, leaving all of the cares of the world behind, brings the most desirable feelings of joy, peace, and overwhelming excitement.  I have felt both in this work, and, using the words of Paul in a little different context, but in a way that I believe is applicable, the feelings of sadness and heartbreak are not worthy to be compared to the feelings of joy and overall rejoicing that are felt in seeing a son or daughter of God return to the fold (Romans 8:18).  I love this work.  I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of salvation unto all the Souls here in the Cuiabá Brasil mission.  Nothing can hinder the work of the Lord, and I know that even my lacking of knowing the language is but a small thing to the all-powerful God.  His work will go forth, and the faithful will bring the light to all those that will accept it.  I was not expecting to share a testimony, but all the same, I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.  I love all of you!  Thank you all for everything, the letters of support and the force that you all are at home.  We are working the same work.  The only difference is the location.  You are all amazing.  I love you and will write again next week. 
Vomas La!  Tchau.
Elder Lee

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Week 19 Letter

July 11, 2011

Hey family!
Well, once again, I am lost for words on how to start.  This week was a great week.  A lot of the times missionaries tend to slack the last week of the transfer, but we stayed excited and decided to finish strong.  It was awesome.  I was on splits most of the week because the other companionship was starting to go into slack mode and Edler Melo (my companion and district leader) wanted the intensity up so I was on splits in my area making me the senior and he went with the other missionary in the other side of Sinop.  I love working hard and sadly, being the junior often times means that I cannot be in control of the work schedule, but this week for 5 of the days I was in charge and we worked like dogs.  It also showed.  Yesterday we baptized an 11 year old girl named Teinara.  She is awesome, but from the pics you will see that she is also really little.

She is living with her grandparents and 2 uncles.  Her grandma was baptized but has been inactive for years and really completely lost.  She has lived in Sinop for 2 years but nobody knew.  We found her by a miracle and invited her back to church and taught her as well.  She was afraid to come back, ashamed that she is not legally married to her husband and had left years ago.  With teachings, comfort, and love, we helped her become more than just excited about returning to church.  I returned with Elder Jordan twice, Elder Melo twice, and Elder Muniz once to teach Teinara and her uncles.  Also, the grandpa, who had never been to church, attended Sunday.  It was my job to stay with him for the three hours and help him feel the Spirit and enjoy church.  He loved it.  He is a pretty rough on the outside, but I found a marshmallow on the inside.  He cried when his granddaughter was baptized.  So did the grandma.  She tearfully thanked my for helping her granddaughter, herself, and her family.  It was ironically a humbling moment for me, because really I did not do anything but follow the Spirit who did all of the work.  Teinara asked me to baptize her and It was an incredible feeling.  Also, her dad was at church and he loved it as well and was very supportive.  We made plans to teach him and his wife (who he needs to marry still).  The wedding plans fell through because we had been given false information, but the couples are continuing to do the process.  Sunday night we received the call for transfers.  Elder Melo will stay in Sinop, and tonight I will jump on a bus, heartbroken, to go to Lucas and be with Elder J. Silva (Brazilian and only Portuguese).  I am excited, but it is really like leaving home again, but tied with the fact that I might not ever return.  It is really hard leaving the members, but especailly my investigators.  William is only needing one more interview with Pres Oliveira and he is sending papers.  He cried when he found out that I was leaving.  He said that he would drive to Lucas when he receives his call and open it with me.  He is the man and will be a great missionary.  Today I will say good bye to some people before I leave which will be good.  I knew that I would love the people, but I did not fully understand.  Now I know.  I really would give my life for them.  I am praying that my investigators stay firm in the gospel and hold fast to the rod which leads to that fruit of eternal happiness.  Their souls are so precious to me.  I am glad that Elder Melo is staying.  I am also afraid that someone will fall through the cracks with transfers, but having Elder Melo stay who know that people will help I am sure.
It sounds like everything is going well at home.  I love all of you.  Congrats to Katie again!  Also, I cannot wait to hear more about my two new brothers.  I am so excited!  Mom, you made it into the Sunday school lesson Sunday.  The sister teaching used you as an example of service, having 12 children and teaching and preparing them to serve in the church.  I really did not say anything to invite the example.  I want you to know that your influence and example is a live her in Brasil.  You are an inspiration to many members and investigators her.  I also want to thank you.  You are the best mom any young man can have.  I am hoping to live up the the lessons that I was taught in my home, by my goodly mother and father.  I love all of you, and will write you again next week from Lucas!
Until then, with love, Elder Lee.

These parrots are all over the place, although the big ones usually stay in the park area.  It is wierd because walking down the street you can hear them talking and signing.  Awesome, huh?


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Week 18 Letter

July 4, 2011
Hey Family!
Wow, is it really the 4th of July already! I did not even think about that! Time really is flying! Well, we did not get our baptism this Sunday because the 8 year old girl and her mother were in Sorriso with a sick relative. The mom cannot be baptized because we are working on a marrage to her husband who is out of town because of work, but she is every excited about the gospel and loves learning and hearing our lessons. Also, I am the1st American that she has ever seen, and she is amazed by my Portuguese (especailly for only 2.5 months in Brasil). I am very excited today. Elder Reis (the other junior companion, Brazilian) and I are working all day today trying to set up baptisms for the last Sunday of the transfer. I am hoping that we will be blessed for working on a P-day. Everything here is good, although I really cannot think of anything else to say. If I am spelling a lot of words wrong it is because this computer cannot keep up with my typing, so I am trying to go back and fix everything, but I might miss some mistakes here and there. So, what else... I am teaching both members and investigaters and my Portuguese is improving like crazy, both understanding and speaking. Sadly, this probably means that my English is becoming worse and worse. Wow, I have not had a conversation in English since I have called you. Yeah, it has been a little while. After I finish my letter to you I am going to go and visit Lia and Realison. I taught them all of the lessons during my first transfer. Lia is a member of the church. They have been going to church for the last 5 Sundays, and tomorrow the state is paying for marrages, so I will go and tell them, get them ready to be married, and then Realison will be baptized this Sunday. I am really excited! I will let you know what happens next week. It is sad to hear about the bunnies. Stray dogs are more than a problem here. There are hundrends on the street. At least 1 for every block. They do not bother anybody and they are all relativily small because there is not a lot to eat. The life of the dog is really sad here. I love Brazilians, but they do not really care for animals that much. Keep a dog as a puppy and when it grows leave it on the street. Anyways, eveything is good here. Tommorrow I will be in Sorriso for a training meeting with President Oliveira. I am looking forward to some training. I cannot believe that I am finish my second transfer this week. I hope that I stay in Sinop again, even if I am moved to the other branch. This week I helped Will fill out his mission papers because his handwritting is not the prettiest. He is awesome. His mom is member but is not active and not all the way there sometimes and his dad is not a member. He says that he wants to live with me after his mission because we are brothers. When ever I have a hard day, he is always reminding me that all of his baptisms are my baptisms. He is the man. Also, during fast and testimony meeting Surgio (a member 15 yrs old) said, as he pointed to Elder Melo and I, that he decided to serve a mission. He is the boy that I sent you a picture of in the blue escola shirt. He is great. Well, I wish you all a happy Fourth of July! Love you all!
Elder Lee
 
Katie!!!
Happy birthday! You are getting old already! What is going on! So, my little woodwind buddy is all grown up. I hope that you have a great birthday. You have always been a good little girl, and I know that you will be a great grown up girl. I am so proud of you. I miss you so much! I cannot wait to see the pictures of you on the blog! Keep being awesome and know that I love you. You are the best. Save a peice of cake for me, okay :) Love you katie and have an amazing b-day.
Love your big brother, Elder Lee.
P.S. I was kidding about the cake. You know me, I am an ice cream kind of guy. Tchau!
 
Hey shauna, how are you! Wow, I feel like I am talking to you like normal. How are you?  Everything is good. Convinced Elder Reis to work with me today even though it is p day. I am hopping to get some baptisms planned for this Sunday because it might be my last sunday here in Sinop.  I will find out Sunday and probably leave Monday if I am leaving. A transfer in my mission could mean 24 hours on a bus. I hope that I stay here because I am loving it, but God knows the right place, huh.  Sweet! Sounds like a blast. Well, I gotta get back to work. My next appointment should be a fun one. Tell the family that I said hi and that I love them all.
Até mais!

Week 17 Letter

June 28, 2011
Hey Family!
Well, what to report on this week. We did not have a baptism this Sunday which was sad because things fell through, although not because of lack of desire so I am looking forward to next Sunday. Right now my main investigators are a 12 boy Bruno and his dad, a brother and sister of a member friend (18 and 22 yrs), a family consisting of 2 kids and thier parents (although it is complicated because the dad is less interested and the wife has fear of seperation if she joins although she has the desire and has felt the spirit really strongly), the sister of Rachid (Iasmi), and a new family who we contacted and are friends with a member. I am really excited about all of them. High expectations for next week, although Brazilians are so laid back that appointments and commitments are often times forgotten. Dad, you are absolutely right about Sundays. I usually spend about an hour and a half calling people (which is also intense because Portuguese on the phone is way more difficult) and then I am always biting my lip in Sacrement meeting, hoping that my investigators are feeling the spirit, paying attention, and hoping that the new member is  giving the talk does not start to speak false doctrine. It is also the funnest day because it is awesome having investigators to church, recommitting them to baptism, church, and reading the Book of Mormon, and it is the day of baptizing. Next Sunday should be a baptizing Sunday. Anyways, What else is new. I stepped in a scale yesterday and it read 72,6 kilos, which is about 160 pounds. No, I am not fat, although I do not know if I am growing or not (as far as height). Also, sorry mom that my letters have been getting shorter. I have not noticed. I will try to not be so breif. Everything here is good. It was actually cold the last two days and we were wearing jackets (I think that it was in the 70´s). So, how are the Leed´s doing? And everyone else? Has jackson left yet? I am really excited for him. The MTC is a blast, and the field is unreal. I love being a missionary, and I am already dreading the day when dad will take my name tag off of my shirt. I am starting to miss some things, and the family is no exception, but it is not too bad, espeically when I am working. There is a quote in preach my gospel that says that the secret to work is work, and that when you are working, you will find that you will not have homesickness and other such things. It is true. When I am working, which is about all of the time, I do not have time to think about anything else. My Portugues is improving a ton! I can say just about anything that I want, although not always exactly what I want, and my understanding has doubled since my last email. It is amazing! I am dreaming in Portuguese full time, although 2 mights ago I dreamed in English, and as a result, I could not sleep. I am also thinking in Portugues. The other day, I was trying to talk in English to a member, and it was lousy. I was saying things the way that you would in Portuguese, and thinking in Portuguese. It is great! So, how are all of you? You all sound great! I am sure that you are all enjoying the summer. Time is flying, isn´t it? Well, have a great week, and I will write you all soon. Love you all, and tell everything that I said hi.
Love, Elder Lee.
Hey, sorry that I sent you my email a day late. Yesterday was complicated. I was working on becoming legal again because appearently I was missing a document that was suppose to be done in the MTC is Sao Poulo, but because I was only there for 4 days, they forgot or something. Then, I read my emails and typed my email to you and before I could send it, the computer crashed and so I sent it today. Technology in Brasil is not quite caught up to the united states. So, no worries mom, I am perfectly fine, and I still remember my promise to you that I will write to you every week. I love you mom, and I will write again soon.
Your son Elder Lee