Returning With Honor

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Injury Week (Week 15)

Oi Everyone!

My parents told me how everyone back home has been giving me so much support and are enjoying my blog posts, so I'd just like to thank you all for your support!


Skype Call:


I really enjoyed my week! Especially because I got to Skype my family back home! I was so happy to have seen my family, and see that everyone has been going well for them. My parents were worried that I was going to get home sick, but I have seen all the blessings that have come from me serving a full time LDS mission! I can't stop now! I am more excited then ever to work hard so that I can continue to serve the people here, and my family back home. If anything, the Skype call was a motivator! My companion Elder Numbers also got to speak to my family (because he couldn't really get a hold of his. He was really let down about that). I was really thankful that my family was so welcoming and opened to speaking to him and asking him about how things are going for him. Elder Numbers says he feels like he is now a part of the Arevalo family! haha Elder Numbers and I feel like we are the brothers we have never had, and possibly separated at birth, any who...it was a fun Skype call!

Investigators: 


Besides the Skype call, my 35 investigators are doing well. We have had some come to church now, but I just wish that people would be more willing to change and start over. I really do get sad when people suffer, and I just want the best for our investigators. I pray so much for them! Tears occasionally flow from my eyes. I pray they soften their hearts, to let the spirit guide their learning and growth. Although our main goal is to invite our investigators to Jesus Christ, we also hope that baptism happens to all of them! Wouldn't that be great? We are excited. I recently also got hurt. After walking several miles, I saw someone drop a box and started to get in their car. I quickly yelled, "Wait wait! Your box!" and before you know it I was sprinting to the moving vehicle. My companion had to start running behind to stay close to me haha. My companion finally caught up to me when I tripped and fell and said, "Wow Elder Arevalo...after all that we've walked...you STILL have so much energy and I love it!". My pants ended up ripping on the brown, rocky ground but a member was kind enough to fix it for me. I love the people here so much that I will do WHATEVER it takes to show my love the same way Christ did. VIVA BRAZIL!

Until next time everyone! Have a great new year! Feliz Ano Novo!
-Love,
Elder Arevalo

Monday, December 21, 2015

Feliz Natal (Week 14)

Merry Christmas!  Feliz Navidad!   Feliz Natal! 

Hey Everyone, 
I hope everyone is enjoying the spirit of Christmas! I have to admit that it feels a bit strange to celebrate Christmas in the warm weather haha. 

So, lets get down to business. I had a great time flying back to the mission home. We spent a few days there and the Christmas party was amazing it was super fun and I was having a blast. I got to meet a ton of new people and I got to see old friends that I made in the CTM! We got back on Thursday so we only had half the week to work our butts off! Luckily, it paid off because we got 23 new investigators this week! 23 is pretty amazing since we only had one when I first arrived to the area...so we've really stepped up our work ethic, and I am so happy that I have been able to push myself and Elder Numbers in such a way that we have now reached out to so many people. I know numbers aren't everything, but blessings have come to us for sure. We are trying to expand our teaching group so that we have a chance to baptize at least one...and some of them are so ready I can feel it! Also, I might have to do some marriage papers for a couple so that will be fun.


Also, while I was at the mission home I got a care package from my parents! I loved the box it was amazing! Sorry, I do not have a photo of the box I received, but just know that I was so excited that I forgot to take one. I shared my box goodies with 5 other missionaries, which were the 3 that live with me and two other Elders. Oh also! The assistants (AP's) came with us back home to our area and I shared with them some stuff from my package, and actually the AP's wanted me to show them our area so I had to show them our area haha. I was nervous, but they said that they loved how I was always calm, and hard working. They also taught me a lot of stuff about how to better ask questions and things like that, which was great!  

Well, that's about all I have to tell today, but I hope you all keep the spirit of Christmas centered on Christ, and do as he did....serve others always. Love you all. 

-Love, 
Elder Arevalo 


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Special Surprise (Week 13)

Hi Everyone!


Elder Santos, Elder Luz, Elder Numbers, and Elder Arevalo
In about two hours I will be leaving Altamira and headed over to the main city of Belem. All of the missionaries (including myself) are going back to the mission home to enjoy a Christmas devotional. My parents also told me that they sent me a package so I should be receiving the package when I go back to to Belem. I'm so excited! I'm sure I will see it. Thank you so much mom and dad for loving me enough to send me something.

Since last week was transfer week, we got Elder Luz this transfer. He is SUPER nice and a little shy but I love him. My current area is kinda dangerous but nice considering we are in Brasil. It's very dusty, and people drive crazy here and I am saying that, but it's awesome here. 


BEST PART OF THE WEEK: A SPECIAL SURPRISE

Elder Numbers, Arevalo, Luz, Member, Santos, and Warley
[Left to Right]
This week... we all had a great time at this restaurant. We barley get to eat out and enjoy a good meal, but this week one of the members named Warley took us to a restaurant. I was questioning why Warley was taking us to get pizza and why he was buying it for all of us? BUT when he said "No worries Elder Arevalo...your parents actually sent money over so that I could spend it on a nice dinner for you missionaries"... I was like "awww that so sweet!"  haha Elder Numbers ate so much and got a stomach ache! haha it was funny. The pizza isn't the same here. They do not use tomato paste. They use something else, and its actually really good, but nothing beats the pizza from back home...especially Chicago Deep Dish. 

After the dinner...Warley suggested we quickly send a thank you video to my parents. We thought it was a GREAT idea! So here it is! 
video

Also, wish Amy a happy birthday for me! Its her special day!

Amy has truly made me the man I am today along with my parents! Amy has truly helped me so much in my life! In the garden of Gethsemane where our beloved brother Jesus Christ suffered for our sins an angle came to him before and comforted him. Amy... you have been my angle helping me everyday. You have love beyond belief for people. You care for them so much! You have been blessed so much and you give people more then what they could every ask for (well at least what I ask for) an eternal sister and an eternal friend! I love you I wish you the best birthday!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday spirit. Love you all! Keeping being examples of Christ. 
-Elder Arevalo

Monday, December 7, 2015

Transfer Week (Week 12)

Hey Everyone,


~Elders & Members With Their Shirts That They Received As A Gift~
Transfers ended today. I am staying in this area along with everyone else except for Elder Stilverson. I am actually very happy that I am staying in this area a bit longer because I like it here which means I will probably get moved this next transfer...that's how the lord works haha. I am not surprised that I am staying here this transfer. I am very far away, and I am being trained. They said that you usually stay in the same area while you are getting trained. I feel like I have been here for a week when it has actually been much longer than that! I don't know where the time is going. 

Altamira, Para


So this week was awesome! I had such a fun time. This week Elder Numbers and I probably made about 280 new contacts. We where walking so much and I had to speak so much, and honestly I am so happy to say that people are understanding me. I don't even need to tell them that I am learning now. A little girl said to me, "you speak great Portuguese" and I was just thing thinking in my head...yeahhhhhhhhh gift of tongues baby!!!!!!...and then I did a little dance. I guess I am improving! Also, we had a leader come visit us, and he told the president that my companion and I look like angles! I thought that was a little strange, but he is the 1st counselor of the entire mission so it has to mean something good! Oh, we made food at home and it was actually okay. I could eat it! It was our first time. We accidentally made ice cream too. Well, almost. It was basically yogurt because it was cold water, powdered milk, and flavoring. I don't know why but Elder Numbers and I just laughed when we we said its just yogurt, not juice.

~This is NOT a Banana~
Fun Learning Discovery I made:
As I was reading my patriarchal blessing, and I saw the word humble several times and I remembered the story of Lehi and his vision of the tree of life. I need to hold on to the rod, and humble myself even more. I need to invite everyone I can to hold on and to partake of the fruit and I should never be scared but always faithful!  

Two amazing videos you need to see:
There are two videos that I absolutely loved watching this week. One of them is posted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints called, "A Savior is Born", and the other is also a video that focuses on Christ called, "Falling Plates". I can't help but almost cry every time I see these two. I cannot explain to all of you how amazing it is to have had the chance to see these beautiful videos, because they remind me that Christ is the single most important gift that we have received here on earth. Also, I was reading the scriptures, and in Alma 7:10-11 it talks about the saviors birth and how he will atone for our sins. I am so grateful beyond belief that he gave us this life here on earth, and that we will also have life after death. He loves us so much! 

A Savior is Born Video  (Click To Watch)
Falling Plates Video (Click To Watch)

~Strange Trees...I had to take a picture~
Thank you for the gift:
I also wanted to thank my sister Amy for buying 6 shirts in Utah. She packaged them to my parents halfway across the country, and then my parents had my awesome neighbor take them with him to Brazil since he was going out there on vacation, and now we have them! Take a look at the pictures above!

That's all for this week. Thank you all! 
Love, 
Elder Arevalo 





Monday, November 30, 2015

Entire City Shut Down (Week 11)

Belem, Brazil

Before I get to the juicy details of this week...It was crazy to see the entire city lose internet! No one was able to use it, or go online. It was as if the entire city shut down! It affected everyone....Including us. So today we had to find a spot in a different (yet close area) to which we could communicate with you all today. I must say that I was very sad that two of our planned baptisms that I mentioned last week failed to happen. We had such high hopes for them but they just are not coming to church and they have a pastor from a different religion living at their house. So that makes it a bit harder, but we will see how it goes. Another investigator we have is under age and his mom does not want him to get baptized, but we will do our best to change that...well, if we can actually get into is house first.
Like I said, I was sad to not have the baptisms, but one thing I have learned this week is that things happen on the Lords time, and not on mine. So that was a good lesson I got, but I am going to make sure I give them the opportunity to learn about the Gospel, and if they take that opportunity I will be the HAPPIEST man alive! If they don't, I trust that the Lord has a plan. I just pray that the people we teach continue to stay safe. One day, I know that they will enter into the kingdom of God. Which degree? I don't know but God will prevail. 

On another note...

Clothes get very dirty here. I have to wash my clothes a lot to keep my white shirts clean! I honestly do miss my parents telling me what to do...its a lot easier then asking myself what would my parents tell me to do in certain situations.

An update on my weight...

I am still the same weight! I haven't gotten fat....hallelujah haha. They feed us so much food here! 

I love you all so much! I hope you all had a great thanksgiving!
-Elder Arevalo 

Monday, November 23, 2015

No Water During My Shower (Week 10)

Hi Everyone, 

This week I felt like my companion Elder Numbers, and I have improved our lesson teaching skills. We know what to say and when to say it, and progress is definitely being made! My companion says that the way we are teaching now is much better, and it is most likely because I am speaking more Portuguese now. In case some of you don't remember...we have two people for baptism this upcoming Saturday, and we have a family of seven that came to church yesterday! It was so awesome to have investigators at church. I made sure that I was always next to the investigators the whole time so that they felt welcome, and accompanied. 

For anyone who doesn't know...an investigator is someone who is interested in learning more about out church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We just go around walking the streets of Brasil to see if anyone is interested in our spiritual message, and if they like what they hear, we invite them to come to church and learn more about our religion. It is so awesome to see people's hearts soften and eyes lighten up when they find our message to be uplifting! 

We are still walking a lot everyday. Opening a new area is hard work, and I am eating lots and lots of food...I am eating so much that I decided to limit myself haha. I don't want to get fat! My favorite food so far is this fruit called, açaí! I took a picture of it! 

I love this stuff!

Fun Facts Of This Week: 

-I stepped in dirty water! Which would really be no big deal, but this was like really dirty water. When I stepped in it I said "Ah Que Molesta" which is a Spanish saying that means, "Ah what an inconvenience", but here in Brasil that actually means "molest" and a person looked at me very strange. So I will never be saying that word here again haha. 

-Also, water ran out on me in the middle of the shower haha. Fun Week!

Love you All!
Elder Arevalo

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I was Homeless (Week 9)

Hi Everyone! 

Saving Lives


To start off...we are having a baptism on the 27th of November! I'm stoked! We probably have two more investigators getting baptized, but we are not sure yet. They are a little iffy if they are going to get baptized, but we are doing our best to make sure they understand out messages for now. 

I have a story about the Gift of Tongues...I was sharing my testimony. I really don't know fully what I said, but it seemed liked everyone felt the spirt and understood what I said so that's awesome. We recently also fasted for an investagator and that was hard because the heat kills us out here! My companion told me that fasting here is the hardest part but it brings the most blessings so thats good. Teaching is hard, I can't say everything I want to all the time, but I am speaking a lot through the Gift of Tongues. I am 100% sure I wouldn't be speaking this new language without it. Sometimes we just find people out in the streets that ask to listen to us!  They are ready to receive the Gospel they seemed really interested! 

I Was Homeless 


On another note...I am going to be 100% honest. For the past two weeks my companion and I have been living from house to house, because our contract for our apartment expired 4 months ago. We moved like every other day so I was kinda homeless, but I slept in a house every night so no worries. All the members of the church here are so willing to help. I love them so much! Elder Numbers and I eat lunch with different members everyday, and if anyone ever cancels on us then the Branch Presidents wife makes us food. We are so grateful for her! We always eat fruit for breakfast. I seriously love all the food here. I am even starting to like powdered milk, but not with a lot of water haha. For those who don't know...they only sell powdered milk out here in Brasil!  

Opening A New Area


I am also opening a new area with my companion so we had to learn our way around the new area, and it was hard to go to members houses and find people because it involves so much walking! Miles! So yeah, it's been kinda tough, but I am loving it. I can't believe how much time has passed already. I've been away from you all for 9 weeks now. I also saw the coolest thing! I took a picture. It was a replica of the Statue of Liberty! I thought I was in New York for a second! haha! 

I now have an apartment and all 4 of us are currently living there. We just need to buy some stuff, and we should be good to go. It was hard constantly moving from house to house, but the Lord never stops protecting those who simply do the best they can in life, especially when we are out daily serving our Lord. 
Love you all so much. Keep being your best and giving your all.

-Love, 
Elder Arevalo
In front of the Temple in Brazil
I thought I was in New York!









Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Walking 24 Kilometers/14 Miles In One Day (Week 8)


















Hi Everyone!


This week felt like it flew by! I have been expanding my knowledge on how to better teach the people here in Brasil. I am trying to use stories in the scriptures to teach people with examples so that they better understand our message. I taught a lesson and I did not know how to perfectly say everything, but you can see that the people understand and really come closer to the Lord through the spirit during our lessons. I honestly cannot explain the joy I have from teaching. I just know without a doubt that what I am doing here in Brasil is what my Father in Heaven wants me to be doing. We even walked 24 kilometers in one day. That's about 14 MILES! We love being here to serve others in any way we can, even if we have to walk mile after mile to find those people who are ready to hear God's message. We currently have 4 people with dates to get baptized so we are very exited about that! We just need to have them come to church more! 

I ran across a scripture this past week that really reminded me of my mother in Ephesians. I hope to be a better son when I get home. I know that I was loving and kind to my mother, but I know there is so much more I can do to show my parents my love for them. My mom also told me that she will be sending my a package for Christmas! I am so exited! Even if I don't get the package...I am still so grateful that my family cares about me enough to prepare something and send it over with such love. I already love the package and I have no idea what it is! Haha!

Fun Fact: There are a lot of bugs that I have never seen. The bugs are bigger here and just very interesting haha. 


Mission Companions and Members from the Branch here in Brasil.



Monday, November 2, 2015

The Second Biggest City in the World (In land area) Altamira! (Week 7)

Hello Everyone!


This past week I went from Sao Paulo to Belem to another location in Brazil called Altamira. Just to give everyone an inside look...Altamira is the second biggest city in the WORLD, but only because of the amount of land the city has...not because of its population or city size, but instead, for its land size. It is located in the state of Pará, in northern Brazil right by the Amazon river! The weather is very tropical and humid. Everyday is about 85-90 degrees. Altamira is served by Altamira Airport, which is were I flew to from Belem. The flight took about 4 hours and 40 minutes. It was fun flying in with other missionaries.


Since I've been here in Altamira, my new companion has been the greatest ever. His name is Elder Numbers and is now considered my dad and I am his mission son. haha! Elder Numbers is from Brasil and Utah. We both have really focused on heavenly fathers mission. We've have been constantly making new contacts and teaching the people here. We are currently teaching someone who will be going into the military soon. So far its going very well and I am so glad that my whole district is being patient with me and teaching me how to better speak Portuguese. They are so helpful! I made sure to attach a picture of me with three other missionaries, including Elder Numbers! 



The Food Is Amazing! 


I am really loving the food here and am using my water purifier to that the water doesn't make me sick. I have been eating A LOT haha. The food is something I will be enjoying everyday here for sure. I have been trying to find something called Açaí (pronouned a-sa-ee). It is a type of berry from the Amazon and it is so good! I can't explain the flavor, but wow...it's good stuff. 


Washing Clothes


Still no ruined clothes! So happy about that. We don't have a washing machine in our apartment, but the branch president lets us use his at his house, which is so kind of him and his family. Honestly, I feel like I am in Guatemala because there are a lot of similarities from when I've been in Guatemala with my family in the past. 


Please share this photo and please tell Ligia Barrera that I am doing great, and that I appreciate her email! I don't always get a lot of time to write to everyone! 

Love you all! Have a great week.
Elder Arevalo
Elder Arevalo [Far left] Elder Stiliviverson [Middle Left] Elder Santos [Middle Right] Elder Numbers [Far right] 
-Elder Stiliviverson is our District Leader and he is awesome.





Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Letter From The Mission President (Week 6)

This week Kevin had to travel to Belem and will not be emailing us this Wednesday. Kevin will most likely have preparation day on Monday, but we did get a message from President Stasevskas letting us know that Kevin has arrived safely along with a few pictures. Here it is:
Dear  Family Arevalo,
With great pleasure we inform you that Elder Arevalo arrived here in the Brazil Belem Mission on October 27, and is currently serving in Altamira city area, with his trainer Elder Numbers.
Sister Stasevskas and I, along with the rest of the mission, are very excited to have your son serving here with us.
He has a great missionary spirit, with faith to do whatever the Lord commands. We would hope that you would, whenever possible, write letters to strengthen him and to encourage him in his missionary service. We give our sincere gratitude, and hope to keep in touch.
Yours truly,
Sister and President Stasevskas 
Elder Kevin Arevalo with Sister and President Stasevskas

Elder Kevin with group that all arrived in Belem with him

Kevin at the airport. Can you see him?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

One Last Week in The CTM (Week 5)

Hi Everyone,

This is officially my last email I will be sending from the CTM/MTC here in Sao Paulo.
There is nothing much to say this week except for the fact that I cannot wait to travel up to Belem! I am finally going to get to go out into the field in 6 days and I couldn't be happier. I do love the CTM, but I now feel very ready to step out and work for the Lord. Do you know know what else that means? I now can send pictures to all of you! I have been waiting to send pictures for the last couple of weeks now! 

I can feel the studying paying off with the language, and pray that the lord will help and guide me become the missionary he wants me to be. Well, that's all for this week! Sorry its so short. 
-Love Elder Arevalo

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Drunk Man Thought I Was His Son (Week 4)

Hey Everyone!

It's officially been one month since I left North America! Things this week were a bit more vibrant. I thankfully have not felt sick, and I thank my Guatemalan immune system for it haha. I am also happy to mention that I have not gained any weight for the month that I have been out here. I constantly have to walk/run up 6 flights of stairs about 4 times a day so I have been staying in good shape. 

This week I got to go out with my companion to place Book of Mormons to anyone willing to listen and read. One of the Elders gave a homeless man a Book of Mormon, but out teacher said that they just use the pages in the book to smoke! Not cool! At one point we had some native people ask us for directions. Thankfully, we managed to get them to where they needed to go. We also ended up speaking to this one man who was drunk. He somehow thought I was his son and constantly kept calling me his son and then shortly after fell over. We also had one homeless man randomly ask us if we had a gun. Never a dull moment out here!

I also have made lots of native Brazilian missionary friends. One of my friends, Elder American can rap and sing in Portuguese, which is awesome! I think my favorite part of my entire week was helping give a blessing of health to Elder Case. He hasn't been feelings his best, so prayers out to him! 

In other news, I was just made District Leader. I made some people cry during my first devotional so I think I am doing a good job. They cried because they felt the spirit! That makes me so happy. Elder Mercado is my favorite person in my district. He conducts our meetings very well, and is a funny funny guy. 

I am also trying to avoid women. I don't want them to think I am flirting with them so no talking to women unless they are going to get baptized!! That is all. haha

Well, I love you all! Thank you for your emails! Gracias! Obrigado! 
-Elder Arevalo 


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

General Conference (Week 3)

Hi Everyone, 


Conference Week!


This week was a good week especially since it was conference week! I loved conference so much. There were so many great messages about how we can all become better people. We just have to make sure to not forget the messages we have been given and go back to what we were doing before. I got to listen to conference in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. I surprisingly understood a lot and I loved every second of it. 

I am constantly loving the people here, and just really focusing on the language. I am learning a lot on how to live on my own, and I am realizing what is most important in life. Family for sure is one that I know is one of the most important things in my life. I am also constantly learning the importance of giving my all today and everyday so that I can try to do better tomorrow. 

There still is never a dull moment with my new native, non native, Spanish, and English speaking friends! Thankfully I can basically talk to everyone here since English, Spanish, and Portuguese are the only three languages spoken here at the MTC.

I thought that during preparation days I wouldn't have as much time to write, but I am glad I get a good 45 minutes every week to write. I also love that I am getting way more sleep here in the mission field than I did at home! Everyone here is saying they are always tired, but I am so happy to be getting 8 hours of sleep every night! It's so nice haha. Also, I was a bit worried that somehow my clothes would turn out to be in a different color, but so far laundry has been a success! haha.

I also just want to mention the talk that was given during conference about mothers for a bit. The talk was definitely one that gave me a bigger appreciation for all my mother does for me. She means so much to me and she has helped me so much that I couldn't have had a better mother in my life. I honestly, have no idea if life was really tough for me before my mission because I feel better....no...I feel AMAZING out here in the mission field. I feel so spiritual and I feel like I can do anything. I love being out here with one purpose and that is to grow daily, and teach, love, and serve those here in Brasil. The gospel life couldn't be any more simpler and more fun! I don't mind studying Portuguese, teaching, eating, sleeping, and making friends for the next two years haha! Love you all. 

-Elder Arevalo 
General Conference Center -Salt Lake City, UT-

Friday, October 2, 2015

4 Companions in 2 weeks! (Week 2)


Hey Everyone, 

It is so good to hear from all of you, and that everything is going so good! I think it is so cool that Nathan got called to serve in Anaheim, California! I am so excited for him. Tell him that I wish him the best of luck, and that I am jealous of everyone who will get the awesome chance to be his companion. 

So my whole district is going to Belem with me, and I am very good friends with all of them! I am staying at the MTC for another four weeks mainly because I am not fluent in the language, but I am talking to natives and they understand me very well so I am just doing my best to practice as much as possible. If the natives ever have a hard time understanding me I just throw in some Spanish and they can usually figure it out haha! It is a little hard to write, and speak it but that's normal. 

Some sad news that I have is that my companion Elder Peterson went home. He was just not feeling the best, and was really homesick, but I loved that guy! We really got along very well. He asked for moms email so that he could send some pictures over so you can all see a few pictures we have together! I hope you guys get those, but I wish him the best, and ask that all of you keep him in your prayers. Since my companion left on Thursday last week I was put into a trio with Elder Wizbock and Elder Drake and they are awesome! Unfortunately, Elder Drake will not be going to Belem with Elder Wizbock and I. Instead he will be going to Tedazina! Now, I officially have have another companion and his name is Elder Jensen. He is from Wyoming, USA.  
-Love, Elder Arevalo

Email from Elder Peterson:

"Hi Kevin's mom! This is Elder Peterson. Kevin and I were companions and I loved that kid to death. What a funny and awesome first companion. Here are some pictures that I have of us in the MTC".
-Elder Peterson







Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Apparently I look Brazilian? (Week 1)

Hello from Brazil!

Sao Paulo, LDS Temple
I am having a great time here learning and experiencing wonderful things here in Sao Paulo. I can’t believe that one week has passed by so quickly. The second week seems to look promising as I look ahead at all we will be doing. First, I must say that the food here at the MTC (Missionary Training Center) is beyond amazing! I do not know what I am eating half the time because it is native Brazilian food, but I love it! My companion is Elder Peterson. He is from Dallas, Texas. He is an awesome guy who is super funny and overall just a great guy. I have been enjoying my district. I sadly never get to see Logan because we are in different districts but I love my district. We all have good laughs and help each other out all the time. We are like a mini familia! It is amazing to see how much I learn and how fast I am learning the language. The language is very similar to Spanish so I understand it very well. My teacher kind of doesn’t call on me to read to answer questions and I am okay with that, but I just feel bad because I understand the most and have the easiest time speaking along with a few others in my district, so we will do our best to help those struggling a bit. It is not easy to learn it even though I know Spanish. It helps that I know another Latin language, but I am shocked that I understand and respond to native speakers and the coolest part is that they understand me! Also, they keep thinking I am Brazilian and people start talking to me very fast (which is a bit overwhelming) but so cool! I also got to go to the temple today, and I had a great experience! It is definitely a beautiful temple out here in Sao Paulo. I also have seen all types of insects and bugs here! They are definitely interesting bugs! Missionary work is definitely tough, but so worth it. Some missionaries are getting homesick and are having a tough time, including my companion Elder Peterson. A lot of missionaries here with me have asked me if I am sad or miss home, and I honestly felt like I was soulless when I told them that I don’t really miss home; I just know that I will see you all in two years! Lately, I have been doing my best to inspire Elder Peterson to keep pushing through because he misses his family and I’ve mainly keep things positive. Now, I am not saying it is easy but I feel like I know what I am doing and why I am doing it, and it is to serve the lord and honestly I feel nothing but happiness! I am really thankful for all my parents have done to prepare me for this journey. I am so grateful. Oh! Also, Elder Bushman, Elder Mercado, and the rest of my district says hello and that they love you guys (they are all in my district and I showed them photos of you all) haha.
Overall, I am loving every minute out here and am enjoying my time here. I clearly am still alive and doing amazingly! Feel free to share this with whoever you would like. I love emailing you all so have everyone email me if they want to! I’d love to hear from anyone and everyoneJ I’ll make sure to send pictures once I am out of the MTC since they do not let anyone send photos while in the MTC. So I am going to have to wait until I get out of the MTC to send you all the nice photos I have. Until next week.
-LOVE,

ELDER AREVALO

Missionary Training Center Group Picture

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Watch Out Brazil...Elder Arevalo is Officially in Sao Paulo! (Traveling Week)

Wow! It's been a crazy week. So much has happened to me this past week. I have no idea where to begin. I guess the easiest way will be to start at the very beginning.

Farewell Party
Friends and Family 

On Saturday, September 12, 2015 my family prepared a giant farewell party for me. We invited every person we could think of. We invited family and friends from all over Illinois. It was a great time, especially because we had a taco stand in our backyard. It was pretty awesome because I was able to get an unlimited amount of tacos, and see friends and family that I haven't seen in a long time. I also had a really cool cake that someone made for me that looked like a missionary with my name tag on it! I also had the wonderful Payne family make me the coolest cake pops that looked like mini missionaries. I was not expecting to have any of the cool things I received, and I was definitely not expecting to see all the people I did that day. I was very overwhelmed to see how many people actually took the time to see me. It was great.

Getting Set Apart

Kevin and Logan
On Monday, September 14, 2015 I was officially set apart as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 7:00 pm at the Joliet Stake Center in Illinois. I was accompanied by my family members, a few close family friends, and the Stake President, who is President Guymon. He gave such a wonderful talk beforehand to all of us about the importance of my decision to serve a mission, and how blessed my family and I will be because of my choice to serve a mission. My set apart blessing was given by the Stake President himself, along with and accompanied by 11 other special men in my life. As I heard President Guymon speak I was overjoyed and fill with the spirit. I knew that I was making the right choice, and I knew that this was my time to serve the lord. It is definitely a day I will never forget. 

Goodbye at the Airport 
O'Hare Airport Chicago Illinois

Today it is Tuesday, September 15, 2015, and I will be flying out to Brazil today! My first flight is at 2:00 pm to Atlanta, Georgia. I will be flying with a good friend who will also be going to Brazil. His name is Logan. We will not be in the same missions, but we will at least get to be in the MTC at the same time, which is pretty cool. After we fly to Atlanta we will be going on a 9 hour international flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil! I am so excited! You have no idea! I will make sure to say my goodbyes, but I am more than ready to serve the lord with all my mind, might, and strength! 

First E-mail from Sao Paul MTC

Hi Everyone, 
I do not have a lot of time to write today, but I made it to the MTC just fine. I am having a great time. My MTC companion is Elder Peterson. He is from Dallas, Texas. I also sent you a photo of all the missionaries through one of the mothers phones. She was a mom who lived in Atlanta, Georgia and was kind enough to send a photo of ALL OF US at the airport to ALL the parents out there. It was cool to see her ask all the missionaries their mom/dads numbers. Oh by the way my p-day will officially be on Wednesdays, and I will be sending you emails on that day. I have all my luggage, and I am learning Portuguese with one of my roommates who only speaks it. Again, I am having a great time. I love you all. Also, I don't know if I will have time to send a photo but I will do my best! Also, please send me your emails. I will try to send this to everyone but I can't find my contacts on this computer. Thanks so much. I'll talk to you next week. 
-Elder Arevalo
Group of Missionaries in Atlanta Georgia headed to Sao Paulo

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Week in the Be-UTAH-ful Salt Lake City

I came to Utah this past week to not only prepare myself for my mission, but also to prepare myself for when I go to college at the University of Utah when I get back from Brazil.

While I was in Utah I got to stay with my sister who is currently attending the University of Utah. My wonderful sister Amy helped me go from store to store to find exactly what I needed for my mission. We were looking for last minute items that are a bit difficult to find in Illinois or online. One of the items I was searching for were white button up shirts, good quality shoes, and a white suit for my temple duties as a temple worker. We ended up asking around and found this great store that is located in Orem, UT. It is called the “Missionary Mall”. They really had anything and everything you could think of for a missionary! All the workers were very helpful in helping me choose exactly what would best fit for the weather and area of my mission since all the workers were returned missionaries. 
I also got the fun opportunity to experience college classes while I was in Utah. It was Amy’s first week of school and she asked if I wanted to see what it was like. I’m not even sure if it was allowed, but we figured it was the first week, and that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal because each one of her classes had hundreds of people in each class. Amy and I went to her very difficult medical classes. I was so lost and was constantly wondering what was going on most of the time. Either way, I still enjoyed the experience, and even got a cool t-shirt from the University for free! Needless to say college is a whole other level of school and I am excited for the challenge when I get back. 
Another great experience I had was being able to go the Salt Lake City Temple of the LDS Church. It was an AMAZING experience, I loved it! I had the wonderful blessing of having two returned missionaries join me at the temple. They both recently returned from their own missions, and one just got back from Brazil. He knows our family very well and offered to spend the day with me at the temple, and answer any questions I may have about the country and culture. I even got the chance to meet someone who also is going to Brazil on September 16th! We took a picture together at a friends house. It was really cool to meet someone who I will also be seeing at the MTC in Brazil at the same time as me, even though we aren't going to the exact same mission in Brazil it is still really cool to have that special bond with someone going through the same process as I am. 

I am very happy I was able to take this trip to Utah. In my mind, it was like a pre-mission experience since I was in a new location without my parents, and experiencing new things every day! I survived without my mom and dad! This experience reassured me to know that I will be able to survive alone in Brazil. I am very happy I got to spend such precious time with my sister and have so much fun out here. Thanks for reading everyone.
-Kevin
Salt Lake City, Utah Temple

Kevin with Returned Missionaries

Kevin in front of the Salt Lake City Temple
Kevin met someone also going to Brazil at the same time as him

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Yes…the FBI was involved

There was no doubt that we were all excited for Kevin. We could not believe that he was actually going to be in South American for the next two years of his life!

On April 28th 2015 Kevin got his mission call, and on the 5th of May he sent his acceptance letter notifying The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that he had accepted his mission call. A week later, he received instructions from the church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah on what he had to do to request his visa from Brazil. He had until July 15th 2015 to accomplish this, which meant that he was not allowed to submit the electronic visa to the church headquarters until after the date the church provided for him. The church is very specific on when things were to be turned in. The lord’s church is one of order, which is why it is set up in this way. Anyhow we started the process right away.

Documents that were requested to get a visa to Brazil

  • A Current Passport
  • FBI Clearance
  • Pictures of the person requesting the visa
  • Birth Certificate

The following documents needed to be notarized

  • Proof of Jurisdiction
  • F.U.A.N.I Letter
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Seminary Transcripts
  • Priesthood Ordinance
  • Copy of his passport (all pages)
After all the documents, letters, pictures, and clearances were processed there was still more that needed to be done. All the documents that were notarized also needed to be authenticated by a government agency to ensure that all the documents were true and correct.

The hardest part was getting the FBI clearance done. We had originally sent in our FBI clearance request May 13th, but it was taking a very long time to get cleared. The estimated time of when it would get done was the middle of August. Luckily, on July 20th we received an e-mail providing another way to get the FBI clearance done faster. We scrambled to get it done right away, and got the clearance two days later. It was a miracle!

On the 23rd of July the application was sent to Salt Lake City, UT. From there, the documents were passed on to the Brazil Embassy. Currently, we are waiting for the visa. We hope it comes before Kevin reports to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Sao Paulo, Brazil on the 16th of September. Overall, it was a very tough process to get through, but we know that this experience will be unlike any other. We could not be any happier that he has decided to serve the people of Brazil. Helping him get everything he needs for this experience is the least we could do for a young man aspiring to share his love for his religious beliefs.

What is Seminary? Take a look! http://seminary.lds.org/about?lang=eng

What is the Priesthood? Take a look! https://www.lds.org/topics/priesthood?lang=eng