Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Brennen arrived in Fortaleza Brazil this morning! This day ended his 2nd week at Brazil MTC!

We received just a picture from the mission president and his wife of Brennen arriving at the airport safely.  No letter.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

19th Week Out, 1st Week in Brazil, Sao Paulo MTC (or CTM)

Dear family and friends;

Yes it is true... I am IN BRAZIL!  I'm in the Sao Paulo MTC!  I will be here for 2 weeks to refresh my Portuguese.  I have now been to both MTC´s!  I can definitely say that the Sao Paulo MTC is wayyyyy nicer!  Everyone here is Brazilian so now Americans are in the minority!  I remember seeing all the different nationalities at the MTC in Provo, and some of them couldn't understand English, so for devotionals and meetings, they had to have headphones and someone translate. Yeah... I'M the one using the headphones now!  Everyone speaks Portuguese and it's forcing me to use it ALL the time!  I can't believe in just one week how much more Portuguese I know!  I know the gift of tongues is real!  

Elder Kessel is my companion again!  If you don't remember, he was my companion in the Provo MTC the first time so it's crazy that we have served together 2 times now!  We have 2 other roommates in our room one is Spanish (Elder Almeida) that speaks Portuguese and the other is a native Brazillian (Elder Prado)!  They both know no English!  They are legit!   They sit with us for meals all the time and we are always having conversations in Portuguese and I can actually understand them! 

One of the different things about the Sao Paulo MTC is we actually go "off campus" here!  We go and teach people all around the city!  I had 2 opportunities this past week to hop on the bus with four "O Livro de Mormons" and go out around the city and teach people about the Book of Mormon!  A lot of people struggle with talking to people and will come back and didn't even give one away.  But the 1st day, I placed 5 out of 4 Book of Mormons in 2 hours!  The 5th I grabbed from one of the other Elders in my district who couldn't give it away.  We were on the bus ride back and I gave it to a person.  The second day I ended up giving out 11 Book of Mormons in under 2 hours!  How... I started off by placing my 4 very fast and then I gave all my companions away because he struggles with talking to people.  Then on the bus ride back, I ended up talking with more people all over the bus and ask other elders for their Book of Mormons because they just stood on the bus waiting to go home.  Not to mention, all these conversations were all 100% in Portuguese.  Heavenly Father has helped me to be very outgoing.  To anyone that knows me... I'm not afraid to go out and do mostly anything!  The way I like to say it...  "We need to be lovingly BOLD!" 

I don't have much time to email here in the MTC.  I'm back on the 45 minute max, and I'm not even allowed to send pictures!  I have so much more I could talk about but no time. 

I love my life!  I know my Heavenly Father is with me, helping me be the missionary he wants me to be!  I love you all and thanks for all your love and support!

Impressions of Sao Paulo Brazil

  1. The roads out here are FREAKING crazy and when I say that, this must be one of the craziest if not the craziest places in the world!.
  2. Most of the cars out here are small.  Probably to get through traffic
  3. Everyone drives bumper to bumper, LITERALLY!
  4. There's TONS of people on motorcycles mobbing through traffic.  They even have a motorcycle area right before the crosswalk!  So it's funny, when you're waiting at a red light, all the motorcycles will maneuver through traffic to the front of the cars, and when the light turns green green... you just see a million bikes take off.
  5. I even saw a driver pull over in the middle of the freeway so that he could stop and take a pee.
  6. There all the most randoms car companies!?

My address:
Rua Republica da Armenia 765
Agua Fria
60821-760 Fortaleza-CE

(Note mail in Brazil is regulated as you might have heard, packages and even letters have a high chance of being opened if you do not cover the letter or package in pictures of Jesus and the Catholic Mary. Shipping takes about a month time sometimes longer.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Brennen Arrived in Sao Paulo Brazil Mission Training Center on June 16, 2015

Dear Parents;

Sister Swensen and I are very happy to let you know that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil Missionary Training Center.  What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they begin their missionary experiences with us. We will surely take good care of your missionary.  
The missionaries now have companions and are settled into their rooms.  They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study.  Their branch presidents and wives, will meet them this Sunday.  These wonderful couples are richly blessed as they work with, motivate, and interview the missionaries assigned to their branch.

The MTC has a full-time live-in physician to care for their health needs.  He is assisted by his able wife who is a nurse. We are also happy to report that the cafeteria food is plentiful, healthy and very good.

Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple.  This will be either Wednesday or Friday, depending on individual assignments.

Your missionary is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of many others. President Lorenzo Snow said: “There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children".  We love these missionaries as if they were our own.  We will watch over them carefully to ensure they are ready for a wonderful missionary experience after the rewarding time they will have in the MTC.

We thank you for preparing such a wonderful representative of the Lord.

President Robert Swensen and Sister Julie Swensen

PLEASE DO NOT SEND PACKAGES to the Brazil Missionary Training Center. All packages must be sent directly to the mission where your missionary will be serving not the MTC. If you have already mailed a package to the Brazil MTC, please understand that the package cannot be forwarded to his or her mission and will be returned to you.

WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE SENDING HAND WRITTEN LETTERS. Please write your missionary´s first and last name. Your missionary will provide you with his district and box number. Also, please DO NOT SEND ANYTHING BY FEDEX, DHL, UPS, or other private carriers.  The cost to process this type of correspondence is exorbitant.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Email news from Church Headquarters, Diane Hansen, who is the Church Missionary Travel Coordinator.

Kevin asked the church's Mission Travel Coordinator about flight plans to Fortaleza and was informed  that they do not have those travel plans for Fortaleza yet as they will be going to the MTC in San Paulo, Brazil for a short Language Training Course.  He will stay there two weeks.

We noticed on the flight plans that Elder Kessel will be sitting right next to Brennen on the plane ride down.  Elder Kessel was Brennen's first companion in the Provo MTC.

Monday, June 15, 2015

18th Week Out, 12th Week in Arkansas! I'm leaving for Brazil TOMORRORW!

Dear family and friends;

Tomorrow I hop on a plane for Brasil.  Finally… after almost 5 months I will be in Brasil.  It will be about a 2 day flight with all of the layovers, but I am so excited.  This week was filled with many goodbyes.  We did a lot of service this week!  It just seems that this area has a lot of projects people always need help on.

So there is a missionary in our ward who served his mission IN Brazil Fortaleza (small world), and got home this last Wednesday!  I was able to go over to his house for dinner and hear and see pictures of what my mission will be like!

I would like to share a story of a man named Leon.  He is a man in our ward who was involved in a terrible crane accident.  While he was working inside a big crane, it collapsed on him.  He had surgery and had to have a plate put into his head.  He struggles with remembering things to this day.  If you were talking to him and someone yelled something, or came up and started talking, he would forget what you were talking about.  Although this man knows the importance keeping the Sabbath day holy.  Leon lives a little over an hour from church by car, but he doesn't even have a car, just a little scooter (which is broken and doesn't go over 40 mph.  This means he will have to leave over 2 hours before church even starts to make it there on time.  This past Sunday, on his way to church, his scooter broke down on him when he was not even hafway there.  Now... How many of us if we were put into this situation would give up on making it to church that day?  Leon then walked a couple miles to the nearest member's home and asked for a ride to church.  Brothers and sisters nothing should stop us from making it to church on Sunday.  It's the 1 day out of our week that Heavenly Father has asked us not to work, participate in sports, ETC.  We will all have times in our life when things will try to get in the way of us making it to church.  I can tell you that NOTHING (excluding a few circumstances) is more important than going to church on the Sabbath day!  I know this to be true.  I love you all and truly thank you for all of your love and support!

Final Impressions of Greenwood Arkansas

  • If you don't have a GPS, your going to get lost but even with a GPS its easy to get lost out here in the middle of no where.
  • Big Tyson chicken slaughter houses are everywhere out here.
  • Tractors, hay bails, and open fields are a common site.
  • I will not miss TIWI( a system installed into our car so we cant speed)
  • I will also not miss backing out elders especially all those rainy days!
  • there's 1 Walmart out here and its the big store that EVERYONE literally shops at and every time you go there you WILL run into someone you know.

NEW mission address:
Rua Republica da Armenia 765
Agua Fria
60821-760 Fortaleza-CE

(Note: mail in Brazil is regulated as you might have heard, packages and even letters have a high chance of being opened if you do not cover the letter or package in pictures of Jesus and the Catholic Mary.  Shipping takes about a month time sometimes longer.

Putting in a fence post!


A letter from a young man in Brennen's mission.

Yo, Man!

Randomly I remembered that I didn't tell you where I was going on my mission. I opened my call a couple weeks ago. I'm serving in the West Indies mission and the Barbados mission region. It's in the Caribbean Sea. I'm so stoked.

I miss you. You're a great missionary, doing great things. I'm glad that you were able to serve in Fayetteville while you wait for your visa. Even though you weren't here for very long, you had a big impact on members and investigators.

Well just letting you know that all is well here. Keep being awesome! Good luck in Brazil.

Love, Josh

My 3rd Text Message from a member "Sister Weaver" from Greenwood Arkansas.

This is Sister Weaver from the Greenwood ward in Arkansas1  We have had the pleasure and honor of having Elder Horton in our Home every Sunday for family dinner for the past 6 weeks!  We have come to love him as a member of our own family!  We had to say our goodbyes tonight!  Unfortunately I cannot send pictures from home but I will blow up your phone tomorrow!  We thank you for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of an amazing young man's service to the Lord!

Monday, June 8, 2015

17th Week Out, 11th week in Arkansas - Leaving for Brazil in 8 DAYS!!!

Dear Family and Friends;

This week Elder Meyer and I celebrated our birthdays on June 2nd!  (Yes we have the same birthday!)  The mission president's wife even called us and told us there hasn't been a companionship with the same birthday in the 3 years they have been serving!  Legit!  The only hard thing with celebrating your birthday on a mission is you get like 20 cakes!

On our birthday we decided we wanted to do service for a member in our ward.  His name is Brother Goldsmith, and he has a farm on a couple hundred acres of land.  He is definitely a man I would like to be like one day!  Doing service with him reminds me of my grandpa… and it brings back good memories!
My Grandpa, 2010
Working at Grandpa's house 2010.
Brother Crocket, another great man in our ward, took us out to dinner on our birthday as well and spent over $100 on the 3 of us at a steakhouse!

The Weavers, another wonderful family, threw us a birthday in their house and made 2 cakes!  One for each of us!  The members here "really" love us and take above and beyond care of us!  I'm definitely going to miss them!

We had Zone Conference this week (they happen every 3 months.)  Zone Conferences are where multiple zones in the mission get together and receive training and instruction from the Mission President and his wife.  It was nice because I was able to see my old companion and elders that I served around in my last area for the last time before I leave!  A couple of elders and I (Meyer, Casper, Joshnson, and Bulpitt) even sang a song at the conference which we practiced for 2 weeks!  It was fantastic if I say so myself!  Wish you all could have heard it!  My last companion Elder Reed gave his farewell talk at this conference because he leaves at the end of this transfer.  I was also able to see Sister Dodge and Elder Kessel (visa waiters like me) who received their visas as well!  They will be leaving the same day as I!  It was good to talk with them and realize I'm not the only one still stumbling with keeping up my Portuguese in a stateside mission!

This week we did so much service again!  We do a lot of service out here and I mean that quite literally!  I'm starting to feel like a moving company as well as a missionary!  We had a week goal as a mission to have 5 OTMs a day ( Oklahoma Tulsa Mission which also means "Open Thy Mouth") so as we participated in achieving this goal this week we saw a lot of success!  More success than I have ever seen while tracting!  We got into more homes and found so many potentials!  Of course we were still shewed and kicked off many people yards but we kept pressing forward despite all the slammed doors and found success with many people who invited us back!  I know though that Heavenly Father challenges us to make the success more sweet!  If we didn't have to try then we wouldn't grow! It's just sad to see people reject the gospel because I KNOW it's true and Everyone needs it!  There was even one family we came across while tracting and there was 2 young boys playing soccer out front while the mom watched over them.  We came over and introduced ourselves as missionaries and I started playing soccer with the kids as Elder Meyer talked more with the mom about our church.  I played soccer with them for a good 25 minutes  and by that time the kids loved me and didn't want me to leave but the mom said she had "heard enough" and didn't want us to come back.  It was hard as we walked back down the road back to our car as the sun went down and the kids came running down the road to me... I Knew how much the gospel could do for their lives but the mom wasn't willing to have us over again.

Brothers and sisters I know with every fiber in my body this church is the true church and the only true church upon the face of the earth.  It will bless ANYONE'S life for the better and you can come to know it is true just as I have!  If I didn't know it was true... then I wouldn't be out here?  I Love you all! Thanks for all of your love and support!

Impressions of Greenwood Arkansas

  1. Turtles run around like cats and dogs! (literally) they like to sit on the roads because the pavement is hot, so a lot of them end up getting run over and now all the roadkill is a bunch of dead turtles!
  2. Dogs run wild just like coyotes
  3. the Humidity is REAL!

My address:
1120 Farley Circle, Apt. C
Greenwood AR 72936

email: brennen.horton@myldsmail.net

Turtles in the road everywhere!

My Birthday stuff!

I will miss my state side mission!  

Here is a text message I received from someone on Brennen's Mission on Thursday.

They texted, "I've been teaching your son spray art.  He's such a delight."

I then said... "Wow!  Thank you so much!  He loves the ocean!  He will remember you for the rest of his life for that!  Thank you for making your mark on my son's life!"

Their response... "He has been an absolute gift to me."

Monday, June 1, 2015

16th Week Out, 10th week in Greenwood, Arkansas. I leave for BRAZIL in just 16 days! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRENNEN! JUNE 2, 2015. Turning 19 years old!

Dear family and friends;

This week started off with "Tornado Warnings" again which is just starting to become a regular thing for me.  A tornado touched down in Mena, AR right next to us!  I don't even mind the flood warnings anymore because we have them like 24-7 and yet I still go and proselyte.  I know Heavenly Father will protect me as long as I obey all the mission rules.

My companion in my last area emailed me and one of my investigators (Kit) was just baptized!  Also the Ratzloff family will be getting baptized this week on the 6th!  It was so crazy how I met the Ratzloffs.   One day I was out tracting and they called me and said, "Hey... we need help with some things and we were given this number to call if we ever needed any help."  I told them I would LOVE to help and I asked if I could come by and see them some time.  They said, "You can come by right now."  So I did end up going to see them and teaching them the first discussion, gave them priesthood blessings, and committed them to be baptized all in the same day which they accepted!  Now after 3 weeks they are being baptized.  I'm so happy to see the fruits of my labors.  It's amazing to see the people that the Lord prepares for you if your willing to work for it!  I'm a strong believer that Heavenly Father will bless you according to your obedience and efforts on your mission.

Anyways, this week we focused on the unbaptized children in our ward, and in doing so we picked up a couple new investigators.  We also did a lot of service again this week.  We wrangled cattle and did a bunch of other crazy Red Neck things!

This week we got new furniture for our apartment because all of our furniture belonged in the dump. No one wanted this furniture so we lit it on fire at a members house!  People don't dump things out here... they just burn everything.

After 2 weeks of working with one of our less active families, the mom showed up this Sunday to church!  We have seen many blessings this week and I continue to see blessings every day I serve.  I love you all and I'm great full for all of your love and support!

Impressions of Greenwood Arkansas

  1. Every other car out here is towing a tailor, and most of the time they are filled with junk!
  2. Ticks and chiggers are everywhere out here!  I got so many chigger bites this week from doing service in fields! 
  3. Old fat dudes just don't wear shirts… yup.
  4. Trailer homes are very common out here.
My ADRESS for mail:
1120 Farley Circle. Apt. C
Greenwood, AR 72936

email: brennen.horton@myldsmail.net

Our apartment.  The new furniture.  My artwork on the walls, and let's not forget the lights!

Flood warnings under effect until Tues.  Lakes are past their capacity and are flooding rivers and streams.  All that water just needs somewhere to go.  Tornados are touching down all over Arkansas, and many low lying farmlands, towns, and neighborhoods are under water.