Monday, November 30, 2009


Hello!!! Has my memory card arrived yet? It's a little concerning if not cause I just sent it like a normal letter. But I hope it arrives soon. This week hás been really great holy dang.
The thing that is the most notable is that we baptized Luciléia!!! She is a friend of a member and we taught her for about three weeks before baptizing her. She was really super ready and very excited. It almost didn't happen, because her parents were a little concerned about it being too soon. But we went and talked to them the day of the baptism and talked to them and they chilled. It's amazing how much easier missionary work is when the members help! It is definitely easier to get in and talk to people and for them to trust you IF their friend is a member and is helping us teach. So tell all your Young Women in particular to get in gear and get their friends on the path to salvation!
At times we under analyze the importance of baptisms and they become just a number or an event, but in reality NOBODY can be exalted in the kingdom of God without baptism.
We taught less lessons this week, we were mostly Just focused on preppin Luci for the baptism. But yesterday we found two absolutely golden houses/families. I think we can progress them quickly, they both have a lot of faith and great desire to learn what path God really hás for them, which is sick and really rare.
Things are going a ton better with my comp this week, less temper tantrums and stuff. He is trying to convince me to give him my ipod. I think I will decline his generous offer LoL. I am progressing a lot in the language. I think I have gotten to the point where it is tôo time consuming to translate things so I think words in Portuguese which is MARVELOUS!!! Dang it's Nice. There are certain words that are very hard to say in English, like missionary, Jesus Christ, God, also, planner, companion, among others. It's pretty boss for me, but it's gonna be a pain for you guys when I return haha.
I celebrated Thanksgiving with a nice lunch at a member's house, teaching all over the city, and some juice at night. I can't believe I have been in Brasil for three months already, so dang crazy!!!! And today I have been in Cambe for one month, also just nuts. Time flies cause I'm Just always doing stuff, I sleep less, but during the night instead of the morning like I used to, and immersing in the work of the Lord.
Dang the scriptures are NUTS to study, so much cool stuff that makes me want to just study all day. I started reading Jesus the Christ, so dang DOPE. Dang it's cool to learn this kind of stuff about the Savior. I think I'll be like a scholar by the time I get back with all the stuff I'm learning already. I know a few things for certain about when I get back; I Will start writing a lot basically about what I see in the world around me; I Will study Spanish and hopefully Hebrew; I Will keep making music but with like everybody. Spencer you gotta GO to Utah state or Utah or somewhere close so we can make a trumpet rap band. And seriously get ready for your mission, it needs to be a thought you keep with you always. The same can be said for any young man. I am excited for the day when I can dread my hair after returning home from a mission served honorably and with all the strength of my heart and soul.
Really I'm loving Cambé and my mission more every day. The people are so ill, the ward is great, the only thing I still haven't gotten used to is having freaking 90 degree weather and rain every day in the run-up to Christmas!! So so strange. Mom and Dad, you Will absolutely love serving your mission together, it will be fun for us children to write weekly emails tôo!!
Really I think the things about me here in the mission field (I didn't change much in the MTC) are that I am much more patient, I'm more tranquil and not so attracted to bagunça, and I have a lot more appreciation and Love for all of the people that have done so so so so much to help me get to the point where I AM today. Your words of wisdom were not all in vain, I am finally developing (mentally/emotionally) into a manchild that can do something with my life and with the world presented to me. Without your help I think I would probably be fat on the couch in some dismal apartment.
Thanks for the email, I would really like it IF each member of the family could hit me with an email each week talking about their activities, advice, thoughts, whatever (Dad, eu não esqueci o discurso de Elder Ballard em conferencia do sacerdócio sobre a gente). Much Love for all of you in the family, and some love for everyone else LoL!!!
<3 Elder Joey
Moroni 8:3

Monday, November 23, 2009

"...the gospel really is an amazing blessing in our lives..."

This week went SUPER well!! We had a lot of success as far as finding people and progressing goes. A word of caution, this space bar is the WORST so yeah a lot of miscues are on the way. I'll basically just start by talking about the investigators we have progressing right now. Basically the frontrunner is Lucileia. She is a good friend of a member so it is a lot easier to teach her. She is 16, has a 2 year old child, and works a freakin ton. So it's a little hard to schedule appointments with her but when we do she really likes them. Assuming she receives an answer that con certeza this church is true, she will be baptized on the 28th! SO BOSSSS!! At church on Sunday we had 10 investigators which is phenomenal!! Two families came: Izoni, Marlene and Jaine; and Luciano, Cristina, José, João Pedro, e Julio. I think we can progress with them pretty well. I'm liking the mission more and more and getting more used to working all the time. It's more fun now.
I shipped the memory card on Tuesday with a letter. Things have improved a lot as far as my attitude is concerned. I still have the same sentiments, but I have learned to control my emotions and work through problems. I find that it is much easier to get along with everyone when I am focused solely on spreading the joy and knowledge that can be found in the scriptures and in the gospel. It is so important to remember that the gospel really is an amazing blessing in our lives and we need to treasure it and share it with everyone. We were lunching at the house of a member and we were giving a spiritual thought. We were talking about missionary work and I had a thought; Imagine if every member of the church invited one person to church or another activity every day. We have what, 13 million members, so 13 MILLION convites every day!!! That would be absolutely phenomenal!! I like what Michelle said in that lesson, that's very true. Being an example is good, but we have been warned to warn our neighbors. So if we are truly living the gospel, we will have no problem inviting others all the time.
The food here is always the same but you know it's pretty good. I like rice a lot now, and I like beans now too. Geez dude Brazilians are picky and rude in comparison to American standards. Lots of chewing with mouths open and talking with food in the mouth. It's totally fine if the people do it, but I think as missionaries we should have a little more dignity and class, but JUST an opinion! It is so weird to be prepping for Christmas in 90+ degree weather. It's very different. My Portuguese has improved a lot in this last week, its a lot more fluid and sensible. I still need to expand my vocab a lot but I think it will just come with time. I have worked a lot on the ´LH´ sound, which I thought I was doing correctly but apparently was butchering. I guess we had some bribe from the mission president that if everyone baptized in November we could allgo to Foz de Iguazu para um conference ahhhh sorry mission conference. But that fell through so I guess maybe we will do it next month. I still think it's weird that we were bribed to baptize, but it's not my call lol so yeah. Well my comp is whining so I guess we gotta go. Much Love for all of you especially my family who I am sending this email to LoL!! (Didn't really make sense and was not funny. SORRY!!)



Monday, November 16, 2009

"...Spam that was more liquefied"

Hello family!!

Parabens that Charlotte didn't die!! Haha ringworm that sucks! Tell her to just live at the detox center. Sounds like you are all staying nice and busy! I got your missionties, that was nice thanks!! I am already receiving Philly's emails through his mom somehow, his first email was in my inbox today. I didn’t realize that I could continue using missionties, I had a revelation when I read that, Dad. I think maybe I will start making copies of my journal entries and mailing those to you! Its hard to write in my journal every day cause we are always on the move and we have very little time at night, but I still have an entry for every day so far.
Grandpa had pneumonia AGAIN!!?? Geez that’s rough. One of the elders who arrived with me, Elder Vogeler, had pneumonia also and couldn’t work for like a full week. We had a zone conference and Jim was there!! That was pretty ill to see him and converse with him in Portuguese. Basically we don’t eat dinner here cause dinner isn’t really big in Brasil. Lunch his usually very big then dinner is very small. So it's fine. The food we eat at lunch is usually very good but my companion likes some of the nastiest crap, like basically Spam that was more liquefied. We won't get that again LoL it was awful. We taught a lot of lessons with members this week, I think like 15. It helps a lot to have a member there. Things are about the same as far as investigators go, none are really close to baptism or progressing. We had two come to stake conference with us, but they are both pretty new. We have goals that don’t really make sense, like usually 7 new investigators a day. It's hard to teach people and help them progress if we are just teaching new people all the time. But hopefully we can find someone good soon and get a baptism this month!
The weather here is so different. Its either sunny or raining. The worst is after the rain cause it's as hot as normal sunny days but there is a ton of dang humidity so it feels like a sauna! Everyone here just wears flip flops all the time, it's weird. Babies, old people, rich, poor, everyone. I think I will buy a pair of Havainas, it's what everyone here wears. And they are like 6 reais, so that’s a pretty stellar deal. What do you guys want me to send for Natal? I have seen people selling hammocks a lot, I could send one of them. Its just a matter of shipping cost really cause that is pretty costly. If you could give me an estimate of how much you want spent I could get stuff together and ship it sooner. Speaking of sending stuff, I am FINALLY sending the memory card today!! Sorry it took so long, but I have been collecting photos. I withdrew some money from my personal account to develop photos to keep here with me that I like, so it's ready to go!
I tell everyone here that there is snow at my house right now and it's like the veil had been removed from their eyes. Nobody here has ever seen snow, its totally foreign to them. Portuguese is pretty rough, it's super frustrating not being able to say some stuff or understand like anything. I think I understand less every day, which is a little concerning but whatever. I guess I'll either learn it or go insane and be shipped home! I think the former is more likely than the latter. I'll keep working at it.
Hey some advice: In the past studying Isiah (I don’t know how to spell it in English; Isaias) or parts of it in 2 Nephi SUCKED but if you use the footnotes like crazy there is a lot to learn. But it also still doesn’t make sense at times, I spent like 20 minutes trying to figure out a verse today it was a nightmare!!
Anyways, I gotta go. I Love you all and hope you have a great week!!

P.S. When is thanksgiving? I want to buy some kind of meat or something haha!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cambe, Brasil!

Hello!! I am in the same area that I started out in with one of the same guys, Elder Filadélfia, as my companion!! I'm psyched!! We don't have an address for the house we are at right now, but we receive mail quickly cause we are pretty close to the mission home. The area is cool but there are a million hills everywhere!! I like the people here a lot but they are sometimes too stuck in their ways to go to church or pray about the message or to read the Book of Mormon. So that kinda sucks, but it's still way cool. We have a few people who are progressing really well, hopefully they will be baptized this month. We eat breakfast at our house, usually toast and milk. We study till 10:30, then we usually go out and invite people to church or get referrals for families. We pretty much are only looking to teach families and men for whatever reason, maybe there is a shortage of priesthood or something. But we have lunch at a member´s house every day at 12:30 or they give us money to buy lunch, which is nice. We generally teach 5-7 lessons per day, which is awesome. It is usually either the Restoration for new investigators or why prayer is important for those who we already taught but haven't prayed. It's super fun though. It's hard to wake up cause we are working hard all dang day! I hate planning and updating the area book, but aside from that it's not bad at all. We talked with this guy, we just call him jungle man cause he lives in the forest. He lives in a shack the size of the kids' bathroom upstairs, with dogs and a chicken. He is SOOOO stinky, holy cow. He has no teeth and even my comp can't really understand a lot of what he says. So I don't understand a thing. But I am getting to the point where I can pretty much respond to questions and convince people to understand things and stuff. Like debating with a dude about why he should come to our church and check it out. I'm getting pretty good at Portuguese, but I still have loooads of work to do. I'm finally getting the music from the CDs onto my ipod, so that's gonna be awesome! We usually don't really eat dinner per se, it's often like we split a liter of Ice Cream or we eat some bread or something. But yeah, we pretty much teach people all day. Our top investigators right now are probably Dagmar and Karen, and Paulo, Gregorio, and Brasilini. They have all been to church once so we need to get them to go again and teach them a few more things. It's sick to have them at sacrament meeting, it shows progress. I hope they keep learning and feeling tha spirit.
I am emailing in an internet cafe. We have about an hour, but our mission doesn't have a rule. It's just a matter of getting around to other things. After we email, we are going to watch a movie at a member´s house. She is really cool. I don't have an umbrella yet, I'll buy one in the next couple of days. We shared yesterday, it rained a ton!! It's weird to have a lot of rain but still be hot outside. I like the sun a lot more, which we have today!! For Christmas, I probably want uhhhhh I dunno... just whatever would taste good. I don't want a lot of stuff to carry around with me, I want to somehow fit everything into one suitcase, that would be RAD!!! Oh the name of the city I am is in Cambé. We live in downtown, right next to a little park with a big fountain in it. Maybe you can find it on google earth or something. Love you all stay safe!!
Love, Joey

Monday, November 2, 2009

In Londrina! November 2, 2009

Hello!! We got here on Friday morning at about 7:30 as planned. The mission pres, his wife, the AP´s, and some secretaries were there to greet us. We went to the mission home which is a really sick apartment. While there, we mostly slept, ate, and talked. We were all interviewed and we left for our areas. Unfortunately, transfers are not until today (Monday) so we didn't get trainers or a permanent area. Instead, E. Ghormley and I were dropped off in Cambé where two Brasilian elders were already working. So we moved in with them with three days work of gear and started working. My comp for the first day was Elder Costa, from São Paulo. He has been out for a year. We taught for most of the evening and had dinner at a member´s house. I mostly just testified and taught part of the lesson, and he answered most of the questions. It is still pretty dang hard to understand what people are saying all the time.
The next day we exchanged comps and I went with Elder Filadélfia, from Fortaleza. He has just one more transfer before he goes home. We taught all day, tons of walking and talking. To make things more strenuous, we were fasting and it is very very hot here. So I was thirsty, he was hungry, but we taught some cool people. I would definitely say that I have never been more tired in my life. Part of our job is to invite 30 people to church every day. It's pretty easy actually, it takes like 1 minute or less to talk to them. On Sunday, I was back with Elder Costa. We tried to pick up investigators up for church, but it didn't work. We went back for half of priesthood, which I fell asleep during rarra. During testimony meeting all of us bore our testimonies, which was definitely a great experience. We went to lunch at a member's house (we do this every day) where we ate a ton and, for whatever reason, watched Chicken Run. I fell asleep during that also. We contacted references for the rest of the day. At times, this can be very fruitful and amazing. For example, we were going to contact someone named Alan. He didn't live at the address we had, but Marcio did. He was actually really interested in the message. Pretty much, if we ask someone if we can share a message with them, they say yes. So the problem is not getting into people's homes, we teach 7-10 lessons a day easy. The problem is people keeping commitments. Obviously I can't really tell cause I have only been here for three days, but it seems like people are reluctant to even keep their first commitment, to pray about the message of the restoration. I don't know why. Most of the progressing investigators are hard to get to church. I hope I will be able to improve this once I enter my area.
Obviously today is P day. We got up, studied, and had a water balloon war!! I guess they had done it once before with just the two of them. But with all 4 of us it was fun bagunça! Then we went to the bank to get our allowance, picked up some ice cream (Dirt cheap and soooo good!) and now I am here emailing you! Cambé is pretty average as far as affluence goes. Some parts are quite wealthy and others are more poor. We do a lot more in the poor areas. We walk everywhere. Last night it took me and Costa 40 minutes to walk home from our last appointment!! But at least I will be strong and ready to start training for the speedwalking events in the Olympics so I can return here in a few years for free!! I sleep so solidly at night. Right now me and Ghorm are on mattresses on the floor, and I don't wake up at all from beginning to end. So that's pretty cool I guess. I wonder if I might stay in this area, Filadélfia is training someone here next transfer so maybe it is me, that would be pretty cool! I wonder how the other elders from our district are doing, it was kinda a weird way to leave everyone. We all piled into a van and they just started dropping people off. I know that Gibbons and Ingram are together, Parrott is by himself. Everyone else is a mystery, I think I will find out tonight. Our mission president, President Leal, is very, very cool. He seems humble and seems like he really is interested in what we are doing and wants us to be happy and to have fun. His wife is rad too, she is TINY (like she comes up to between my elbow and my shoulder. I hope you guys are mission presidents one day, that would be really cool!
Anyways, I have little time left. We leave here at 4 to Londrina, where we will get our trainers and assignments. I am so stoked to be fully engrossed in an area.
Tchau com muito amor por vocês!

Farewell Sao Paulo--more photos to arrive soon!

Ninth (and last) week in Sao Paulo Mission Training Center October 27, 2009

So this is my last week! I'm stoked. We have covered a lot in this last week (at least I have) and we will pretty much just be reviewing from here on out. I can converse well with almost all of the Brazilians. They are very nice to talk to. The six Brazilians that are going to Londrina are all super cool! We had to sing in the Sunday devotional because it was our last week, and I acted as translator for the choir. I think this next week will be total Bagunca in our classes.
So Elder Scott came on Friday. He spoke on general missionary stuff. It was cool to have an apostle there, but his talk was not at all eye-opening. But still, we got to shake hands and the Spirit was definitely there super strongly. It's cool, as he was speaking he would like just pause and look down. I think that he was just listening for direction from the Spirit. I think that is a super cool thing. Something that I would like to have the sensitivity and spirituality to do some day. The guy who spoke earlier in the week, Elder Codoi from the area 70 or something, was much more helpful (at least for me) because he spoke a lot about the divinity of our calls. It was good for me. I gained a better understanding that my specific skill set can help certain people in certain situations. So that was a cool part of the week.
Castellanos and Ellis left early Friday morning for Porto Allegre. They both seemed really ready. Castellanos is a phenomenal teacher and is very good at Portuguese. I wonder how their trainers and stuff are. I will know what it's all about soon. Elder Vogeler joined our district. He came the same day as us, but he was in a district with only Rio de Janiero-bound elders. They left on Friday, so he joined up with us. He is half Peruvian, his mom is from Lima. He speaks pretty good Portuguese, between me and Castellanos. I talked to him about Peru, he was actually there at the same time as me! He said he has been to Maccu Piccu also, he also loved it.
Today (Monday) we had our exit meetings. One was just informational; we board the bus at 4:00 AM on Friday. Our flight leaves at 6:25 and we arrive in Londrina at 7:30. I think that it would be like a 6-10 hour drive; I think it would be much more cost-effective if we went over on a bus. But I'm psyched, we could easily have time to teach a lesson or do some street contacts that evening! I guess I'll meet my trainer that day, I don't know if an American or Brazilian would be better. I guess both would have their benefits. We also had a meeting with the MTC executive secretary (the president is out of town) and he pretty much just encouraged us to work hard and dedicate ourselves. Then we had a two hour health meeting that was VERY informative! We got a booklet on exercise, which I have not yet read. I hope to get good at pushups during my mission; 30 minutes a day should be pretty good for making me super ripped.
On Sunday, everyone from our district who had not yet spoken in sacrament meeting gave a talk. I decided to try it in Portuguese, and it went really well. I did a Lord of the Rings analogy in my talk on obedience, it was actually a good fit for the topic.
I went to the temple today for the last time for two years!! That is going to be kinda weird, I wish we had one in our mission. Maybe we will be able to go to Curitaba or something, but not likely.
Well, I am low on paper and lower on time. I love you all, the MTC has been great, but it's about to get greater! Eu sei que esta igreja e verdadeira. O Livro de Mormon foi traduzido por o autoridade de Deus por meio de Joseph Smith. Temos profetas hoje. Sei que podemos viver por eternidade com Deus e com nossas familias. Cristo vive. O trabalho do senho va continuar a todas pessoas.
Love always,

Eighth week in Sao Paulo Mission Training Center October 20, 2009

Agora, Somente 2 mais!
So just after I sent you my letter last week, I found out that we will be leaving on the 30th! So we will fly out a week from Friday! Elder Scott will be here on the 23rd. So we will get to hear from him, which is so cool and lucky. All the other missionaries that arrived at the same time as us, that are going to Rio, Forteleza, or Porto Allegre all leave the morning of the 23rd so they miss him by just a few hours, that would be such a disappointment. But they get to start teaching people sooner, so it's a pretty ok trade either way.
This week has been very good. We just did normal stuff up until Friday, when we proselyted. We went to a place called Patriarch's Square, or something, it was an awesome area. There were people running all over the place, an incredible amount. We got two Books of Mormon per companionship. I handed mine to a young girl, probably about 15. She seemed quite interested. Elder Titus gave his to a young family; Dad, Mom, and a baby girl. They seemed so interested! It's nuts how ready people are to listen. Elder Yuma and Ghomley had probably the coolest story. They were just walking and this kid skateboarded up to them. He said that he had to talk to them because there was something different about them. So they taught him and he was super excited. After they left, he started showing other people the book and teaching them! It was crazy to hear how ready he was. There are a TON of bums. We talked with this guy named Kevin who is British. He had been released the day before, where he was doing time for drug trafficking. He wanted to talk with us, mostly because he had been able to speak only Portuguese for two years. He was so crazy. He kept almost hitting me with is lit cigarette because he was waving his arms around so much. He said he was Islamic, but he wanted a Bible. I had a spare, so I gave it to him. He seemed super crazy. He told me to quit my mission and make $500,000 a week with him. But I said no thanks. It's funny that people love the Bible, but do stuff like running drugs. I guess it isn't specifically listed in the Bible, but you would think people would assume it was wrong. Oh well. Then I talked with this guy who was either handicapped or just like permafried from drugs. He wanted God's phone number. So I told him how to pray; that was not what he wanted. He was looking for actual digits! So I told him some random numbers, and he wrote them down! He was really excited. I told him God loves him, and he got super happy and gave me a hug. This guy was sooo stinky! But he probably needed the hug, so it worked out. When we got to the point where we were supposed to rendezvous with the van, the van was not there yet. So we had to wait for over an hour for the van to show up. Meanwhile, Elder Yuma and I played our first soccer with a soccer ball in Brasil!! A guy was playing with another street vendor. So we asked if we could join. They said yes. We were definitely better than them, people kept watching and commenting. The van still didn't come. This huge parade was keeping it out. Basically a ton of college-age people were having a moving Halloween-type party in the streets. So naturally, there was a large amount of promiscuity and drunkenness. We had to walk through it to get to the van, that was super crazy! Lots of weird looks and comments! Elder Fujimoto will see that all the time (Rio). Londrina will be more basic, but still so awesome.
Too bad Spencer got sick. Just remember, Spencer, that it's better to be sick at home than when you go to college or on a mission. Actually now that I think of it, I don't remember ever being sick during college. But people here that get sick are just miserable! They get stuck in their rooms, can't do anything but read and their comps suffer. Jensen and Fujimoto are dealing with it now, Jensen is very sick. So get sick as much as you can now! The doctor here, who is one of the three senior elders, had a heart attack like last Wednesday. But he was back here at the MTC working today! The whole time he was in the hospital, he diagnosed people over the phone. He is really nice, super awesome! So dad, don't have a heart attack.
Things are still great, Elders Ellis and Castellanos leave on Friday morning. So we might get a new District Leader on Thursday. A new elder, Elder Voegller, is joining our district on Thursday because his whole district leaves on Friday. I used the rest of my Cheney's money today on internet and a cookie, so it was the perfect amount! Thanks again for everything.
Love you all, Be Christlike!