Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"...just doing what I know is right..."

Yoooo this week has been pretty good, really different for sure. My new comp does things totally differently. We still work til 9 or 9:30 every night.
One thing I really love about Cambé is the homeless people. Elder Thrapp and I made good friends with a couple. I will always talk to them.
We have been averaging just 3 or 4 lessons a day… yesterday he went to a leadership meeting and I worked in our area with a couple other newer missionaries. We taught six lessons before 4 o clock, which is the hardest part of the day to find people.
This is going to be a good experience of becoming more humble and really just doing what I know is right because of me.
We have not really found any really good people in the last little bit. Vinicius and his family are doing really, really well. They are going to church on Sunday and everything. We will pass by there tonight and teach them a little bit more. They are a really cool family, really close, and they like talking about social issues and stuff. I have really enjoyed talking about that kind of stuff with them.
The economic crisis came up while we were talking to an investigator, and I was able to share some knowledge about how it went down, that was nice to talk about that stuff again.
There is a big problem here with the health posts. The medical system here is socialized, so there are little clinics scattered throughout the city. But they have been overcrowded and people aren’t getting the attention they need. It's too bad, but still much better than it would be if they had to pay for their medical care, in which case they would just have to go without.
About missionties, that’s probably a good idea to cancel. Dad, I got your letter about marriage and stuff. It was sent by you on the 7th, postmarked on the 12th, and I got it on the 23rd. Divorce is legal, but difficult. The real problem is that people don’t want to get married because it is expensive, like 100 dollars. So there are few people that are actually married. It’s still a problem, just not as big as I think it used to be.
Elder Thrapp is still close by. The mission is divided in six or seven zones, two of which are in the Londrina area. He is a leader of Tiradentes, so we are in the same zone still, and will probably work together one of these days. They call every day to see how the day was and stuff. It’s a pretty cool system, and we can exchange jokes LoL.
Basically this week is going to be really interesting; I hope we can improve things here!!
Love you all, thanks for the emails and everything!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"...the people are really nice and always help."

Yoooo I'm soooo glad the memory card came!!!  SUUUUper sick!  Well I hope you enjoy the videos and photos, I don't even remember what is on that card any more!!  But all good.  This week was good and bad.  Some of our really good investigators, Noemia, Emerson, Ana Paula, and Renata, decided that they don't want to change religion despite the testimonies they received.  Genivaldo is too lazy to keep going, so we had to cut him.  The really crappy part of the week is that on Sunday, we went to Vilma´s house (the lady who asked if we could come teach her and asked if she could be baptized and went to church) and she sent her daughter to tell us that Vilma didn't want to continue learning or going to church and to give the Book of Mormon back to us.  Naturally we didn't accept it and we will try to get her back on track and figure out what went wrong.  I really hope she will overcome whatever it is she ran into and get baptized and accept the gospel!
The best part of the week was the lesson we had with Vinicius, Eloisa, Bianca, and Vinicius.  It was super spiritual and they said that they are almost ready to accept a baptismal date.  They are going to church on Sunday, and I think they will be ready after that!!  That family is really, really cool, and it would be such a blessing for them and for us if we could baptise them!!!  (I always spell baptize wrong, it's the Portuguese. sorry)
Right after that lesson as we were heading home we got the transfers.  Elder Thrapp was called to be the Zone Leader here in Tiradentes, so that's exciting (actually he is not stoked)  My new comp here in Cambé is from Hawaii!!  Well, he was born in Hawaii and grew up there, but moved to Pleasant Grove in High School.  I'm pretty sure he lives dang close to the Johnson's, he said in the hills above Discovery Park.  I think they are probably in the same stake, so that's pretty cool.  He is an ambitious dude, a scuba diver, so we can probably get a lot of good stuff done in this transfer!!  Geez, it seems like yesterday I wrote the email introducing Thrapp, that transfer went by sooo fast!!!  I guess this ward really didn't like Filadelfia, last night we passed by the chapel to pick up Thrapp's jacket and bishop was there.  We told him about the transfers and he was like "Oh the chato (no direct translation, means like boring, annoying, or lame) Elder stays for six months and the good one leaves after one?!"  That was kinda bold ("Cara de Pau, or wood-faced, as they would say here) and pretty messed up but also funny to see how weird the bishop here is!!  He is the man, but he always rips about how lazy the members here are when they seem good to me.  He says it's one of the most boring wards he has seen, and I think "Your the dang leader of the ward, where do you think it all starts!?"  
But really I like this ward a ton, the people are really nice and always help.  
This member, Manuel, was nice enough to take all of Elder´s bags in his car to our house, in the middle of his work day.  He is a baller, and all of the members are like that.  Basically this ward is really cool and I'm really starting to settle in and become friends with the members!!  Well that's about all I have to say. Love you all and good luck in your ventures!
<3  Joey

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"I'm doing well and loooooving it here!"

Well I just barely realized that the transfer ends next week!  DANG this transfer went by super super fast.  On Monday or Tuesday or something we will find out if either of us will be transferred.  The president prays about who needs to go where.  I'm hoping we both stay because we have Vilma and her family who will be baptized at the end of the month and Vinicius, Eloisa, Bianca, and Vini who are also coming along really well.  And we have been putting up solid, solid numbers, so I think maybe we will both stay.
This last week went by really fast.  We have been teaching a lot, and its been really fun.  Vinicius is getting a lot more comfortable with us and with the Book of Mormon.  Eloisa wants to go to church pretty bad, but Vinicius is still a little nervous and his mom is sick.  So we are praying that she gets better and they get to church.  They definitely already know that the Book of Mormon is true and that our message is different.  The last time we were there they just started BASHING the Jehovah´s Witnesses, which was a little uncomfortable for us but true, we teach with the spirit.
It has rained here about every day for the last two weeks, its really annoying.  I have been carrying around the umbrella you guys sent me, and it is great because it is nice and small.  But it isn’t as strong as some, it often folds inside out and I have to fix it, haha it's no problem though.  Some missionaries, basically, just are huge pessimists and give up really easily.  They always have a problem with the leadership of the Zone or the District or the mission… its really obnoxious.  But I basically just ignore everything they say.  They go home if they cant find people to teach, which is the worst idea ever.  And one of them is always sick or injured.  But me and Thrapp just make a lot of jokes about it and offer to help, so that’s really the best way.
Sorry I didn’t get photos to you last week, the Lan house we were using was the worst and we couldn’t get either of our cameras to connect to a computer.  The one we are in now is sick, so I'll send a few.
Really we haven’t seen a lot of great events or anything.  We found a member that just got out of prison for killing a guy, that was a great conversation.  He said it was in self defense, but he went to prison for over a year (which is a LONG time in Brazil) so I dunno what his deal is.
Well I don’t have a whole lot more to say.  I think I remember you saying about the time I got into the field that Marty was making like a newsletter, did that ever happen? If so, It never came.
Thanks for the support, I'm doing well and loooooving it here!  If it still has not been sent, you could throw in a sheet or two of those Jesus stickers if they are easily obtainable.  Love You all!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"...after they realize that we are not so scary or weird, they let us in."

Well now its 2010!  That's cool, I made a great video about it that I am sending in the mail on a DVD with a ton of photos and videos today!!  I won't delete anything from the memory cards until you guys have received the DVD and copied all of the photos onto the computer first!  I'm stooooooked for you to receive them, they are all great!!!  
I got the banner of glory from the cubs, that was dooope.  I don't remember if I told you but I hung it up in our house.  
Well things are SUPER solid with elder Thrapp!!  Dang he is a baller.  He also had a rap group, Easy C and Kablamo (post their myspace on my blog , and did a lot of weird stuff too before the mission.  
We are finding a ton of cool people too, we are teaching a great family; Vinicius, Eloisa, Vini, and Bianca.  They are really interested and know that the Book of Mormon is true.  But they are very Catholic so they need to strengthen and switch it up!!  I can really see them being baptized though, and families are the best thing to baptize!!!  
We had interviews with President Leal yesterday, he was really stoked about the goals I have made and my progress linguistically and gave me props.  I learned that he is incredibly rich because of some chemical plant in Sao Paulo that he is a co-owner of.  So that's pretty cool.  
We did divisions with the zone leaders, I was with Elder Hall who is going home in two weeks.  Whenever we do divisions, we teach like NUTS.  Thrapp and Almeida taught 8 lessons and we taught 7.  The sisters in our district are struggling, soooo many problems, lots of drama.  So our district meetings are pretty funny and I am able to make a lot of greeeat jokes!!
Spencer turns 17 this week oh my GEEZ that's so dang crazy!!!  I remember when I was 17, I think it was like the day before Prom or something like that. Parabens brother, celebrate to the maximum.  Pretend that shipping costs weren't ridiculous and that I could send you a Ronaldo Corinthians jersey, but I can't.  So just imagine it.  Have a great birthday.  Yeah for my birthday, really just the pens are important.  The book will be cool too.
Well, we have been hustling, teaching a lot of lessons and revolutionizing missionary work in Cambe.  We are going crazy with working with the members. We have someone from the elders scheduled to go with us every evening this week.  I'm stoked, because it's a lot better with members.  
A method I discovered to get people to let us in:  Many times when we clap at their gate, they don't come to the door, but they are home.  So really we just need to talk to them for a moment to get them to realize that we are bringing something good.  So I call out a name, like Claudia or Felipe (not one like Joao or Maria, they are too common.)  Generally the person comes out to tell us that the person we called does not live there.  So we basically just treat the situation as though they had come out the first time we clapped, introduce ourselves and ask their name and say why we are there.  It's good to ask what the name of the street is or something also.  Then, after they realize that we are not so scary or weird, they let us in.  
We have taught several people using this, and one is very interested in the church. So basically this technique, while it may seem a little sneaky at first, is a sneaky way to sneak the gospel in on people the way Satan sneaks sin onto people!! We never lie in our question encounter, and people accept us well. That's something to remember for your mission Spencer, figure stuff out to get lessons to the people!!
That's all I have for now,
Love you all