Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"...I begin to smash uncertainty like a dude at the circus with a huge hammer."

Yoo fam how is the US of A? Everything here is going really well. In the last week or so we have had a lot of changes as far as our teaching pool goes. It is incredible how fast investigators go from zero to hero or do the inverse.
Ederson and Flavia basically decided that it wasn't for them. Well, that is not entirely accurate, really Ederson knows it is true but Flavia is too nervous to give it a chance. So we can't really do anything there, Ederson is correct to put family unity above two shady foreign youths LoL.
But they were replaced by a plethora of other families with even more potential. The best families we have started teaching as of late are Carlinhos and Tania, Nelson and Noely, Arcenio and Sirleine, Erci and Sonia, Patricia and Eder, and Dulce. These people were all taught on Monday or Tuesday. They ALL have a lot of desire and celestial potential, so that's super boss to see that comin through.
One of the chronic problems is MARRIAGE!!! AHH dang. Carlinhos and Tania are super ILL but they are not married because Carlinhos is still married to another woman! It's freakin criminal, and it takes forever to resolve stuff like that. But we are working a lot with all of these people and we will see how it all goes down in the next little bit.
Ari and Neide... ahhhh well we were deceived by the former companion of Elder Carmo. He said that everything was good with them, that they had solid testimonies and were super prepped for baptism. So we went there to teach the restoration again to fortalize their faith. Well... turns out that Ari doesnt believe in living prophets, so basically we have a huge task to accomplish before the 7th. We almost have to start from scratch. BUT we still have lots of hope, he wants to do a BoM study with us, so I'm stoked for that.
Luiz and Lourdres are the crown jewel of our teaching pool. They are booooosss as can be. On Sunday they went to church and Lourdes brought her 91 year-old father. He really liked it because it was calm (which is a miracle, normally we have children running around like nuts). So maybe he will progress and be baptized too. But I don't want to be the one who baptizes a 91 year old dude, that has charges of Manslaughter written all over it.
But we are on the doorstep of baptizing them. They have been to church multiple times, keeping all of the commandments, and loving what we teach. But still Lourdes doesn't quite understand that this is THE church. So we will work with her a bit more on that this week and hopefully realize the baptism next Saturday.
Conference is gonna be Ill. We can go on Saturday if we go with investigators. On Sunday morning we will watch priesthood sesh, then watch the other two sessions as well. That's gonna be good stuff. Hopefully the mission gets me the general conference Liahona fast because that is where I begin to smash uncertainty like a dude at the circus with a huge hammer. (weird senseless analogy, sorry!)
Everything is chill here with my self esteem and all that. I am not lonely, everything is good with Carmo. I bought the bag with the money you gave me for Christmas. I don't need anything really. I will let you know if the situation gets bleak LoL
Well love you all, keep following the prophet and doing it happily.

Tudo que faz, faz com amor.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

" was worth it because we taught the ILLEST family ever!"

Hey everyone.
This week has been pretty good. All of our investigators are moving along nicely, well almost all of them. A couple cut us, a couple don't really get anything. But we are moving toward baptism well with Luiz and Lourdes. Ari and Neide are still ready to get baptized on the 7th, everything is good for them. They have been investigators for like a year because their marriage papers have taken so long. But now their day is arriving!! So that's rad. The branch seems to be coming along a little bit. People seemed a little more happy this week than they were the weeks before, so that's amazing to see (thanks for the prayers!).
It has been pretty rainy here. Of course it rained the most when we left our umbrellas at home, so we spent all of yesterday cold and wet! But it's OK, we didn't get sick and it was worth it because we taught the ILLEST family ever! Well, aside from mine.
But this dude Ederson and his wife Flavia are having a few (a lot) of relationship problems. We found Ederson about a week ago, he liked the message. We went back to teach him about the Livro of Mormon. He also thought the book was cool. He asked us about what it is like at church, so we explained how everyone there is a volunteer, nobody gets money to do what they do. He couldn't believe it!
It always gets a little awkward when people start bashing other churches while we are there, but he basically called out every evangelical church and said they are corrupt. Anyway, we scheduled another visit with him when his wife would be there. We visited and taught them for about 45 minutes, teaching her about the restoration and the Book, then teaching them about how families can and should be happy. They really liked it and seemed excited to learn more and visit the church. So we are going to be working with them a lot in the near future. They are probably the coolest family we have found to this point, in this city.
I have been learning a lot about the Brasilian military. Dang, senseless corruption! Elder Carmo always talks about how they did all sorts of stuff just to inflict pain (like do pushups with closed fists on asphalt and drink chicken blood), then he says that nobody could ever beat the Brasilian army because they are so tough. I always just say Well, actually people could beat them because your army would be so sick and in pain! LoL.
He talks about his commandant that he really likes. This dude is like a dang Nazi general!! One time a dude sold him rotten meat, so he took four soldiers and put his pistol in this meat salesman´s face and just yelled at him about respect and stuff. I was like dang dude, that's the one of the problems in this country, the military is above the law! I explained clearly how a government has (or should have) levels of authority with checks and balances to keep big headed people from getting more control than they should. But, he is confident that US vs Brasil is a victory for Brasil, so whatever.
Well the work is going really well here. Oh mom, they don't need materials or anything like that here, but thank you anyway.
Charlotte, get a pulsar. Buying a newer car is just a joke, immature. The older the car is, the more experience it has, so it is more reliable. The CTR rings that you sent me for my birthday are stellar, I have tamed a couple kids with them. I got the bag I ordered from the mission, it is smaller and I carry it in my hand so I don't get so sweaty. It is very nice to have. I got a Christmas card from Lara last Thursday that was mis-sent to Thailand...That explains why it took 3 months to get here!
Love you all
Tudo que faz, faz com amor.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"I was working on Humility, but mastered it too fast"

We have found a TON of ILL people this week! We are both at 100 percent health wise, so we can walk all dang day in the heat and have no problems.
We have been marking a lot of baptisms, I think we marked either five or six yesterday, and FIRM people too! A lot of times we are encouraged to mark everyone we meet in this mission, and we mark a ton of people that will never progress. So this week we marked people that live close to the chapel, have the capacity to understand the gospel, and desire. It has been truly dope. We found this rad family late last night that we marked, they are all really cool.
I was stoked and surprised to see how big the difference is between the desire of new and old missionaries. We are both more into working like nuts than keeping a good rep with the LZs or anything like that. Elder Carmo celebrated eight months on the mission yesterday, I have almost seven... so we are at the same level and destroying everyone.
It is like when Harry Potter always caught the snitch at Hogwarts even though he was just a first-year; we too are murdering the opposition.
But it's not all spirit and balling here in Medianeira. The branch is in absolute disarray. People argue during class, point fingers, it is a MESS! We had 3 young women investigators at church on Sunday. Unfortunately the YW President is inactive. So they went to Relief Society, where two sisters fought about who would conduct during the musical number. One was calling others out because they had at one point been inactive. It is awful. EVERY time we eat at a member's house, they talk about other members of the ward. The Branch President is honestly the only thing holding this branch together. Elder Carmo and I are the 2nd counselor and secretary of the branch presidency.
There is a massive internal problem, and President has made it clear that this is what we need to fix. It is a massive task, so we are going to try to get President Leal to come here and burn everyone. We are working with five families to help them recognize why they are members of this church. Many, many people here have nothing close to a testimony.
We as missionaries are supposed to be responsible for bringing people to church and accompanying them to baptism. But both Elder Carmo and I had the feeling on Sunday "Its good we only had three investigators in church." It is just a mess, we were teaching the family of one of the girls that went to church, but when we went to teach them they said they did not want to hear any more because of what their daughter told them about church. We have a ton of work in front of us, but I know that if anyone can do it, Jesus can.
So we are doing our max, and leaving Him to do the miracles. The mish is definitely hard, but this has been the most spiritual and revealing week for me to this point. Basically we will never give up til we die, so don't worry about that.
Something interesting we have been doing that is completely against my nature is singing in some lessons. We have this one lady that is looking into the church. She likes to write hymns, so we were like, “Oooh”, brought our hymn books, and now we sing an opening and closing song.
She has opened up and progressed a ton since we started doing that, the change is awesome! She and her husband are really interested, she (Lourdes) wants him (Luiz) to get baptized ASAP. We are like "yeah Luiz, do it, get baptized!" But he wants to baptize his wife. Sick family devotion, but dang it! He needs to get baptized, get the priesthood, and baptize his wife! That would be two times dope!!
Well things are going swimmingly here. I would have to say that patience and perseverance are the traits I will be trying to improve this transfer/area. I was working on Humility, but mastered it too fast LoL.
Really I'm just a match trying to light candles on a windy night. OOOHH!!!!
Love you all,
Tudo que faz, faz com amor.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"I know we are going to do a lot of miracles here in this city."

Hello everyone!
Thank you all for the outpouring of concern over my diarrhea, I got better after a few days.  I went to the hospital on like Wednesday or Thursday, they told me to deal with it and prescribed some medications for the stomach ache.  So gradually the stomachache, then diarrhea, the headache, then sore throat, then pressure in the head went away.  Now I am feeling like 85 percent, so it's goood times here! 
My birthday was good, we went to Foz for district meeting, which is always nice.  My district is soooooo much cooler than the one in Cambé, we actually were able to help one another with stuff.  We ate in a restaurant there because it takes a long time to travel back to Medianeira. We didn't get back until three.  But we ate a bunch of candy that you sent (THANK YOU!!!) and pretty much opened presents and of course made a special documentary of the whole event. 
I have to say, if there is any way to study a language, it is with preach my gospel and the Book of Mormon in that language!  I am not going to start studying in Spanish for a while (I need to get better at Portuguese first LoL) but I know that it will be a breeze once I get it going.  Something very interesting about Portuguese and Spanish is that they are basically written the same and have the same relationships to English. 
For example, words that end in "tion" in English are generally the same in Portuguese, but with "ção" at the end instead.  Spanish replaces it with "cíon".  So presentation would be presentação in Portuguese and presentacíon in Spanish.  Anyways, that is all completely irrelevant.  What I am trying to say is THANK you all very much for all of the wonderful gifts of love!!
This week was my first in Medianeira, and I have to say that I am more stoked for the next five than I have been since the beginning of my mission.  First off, this city is absolutely gorgeous. It's only 50 years old like most of Paraná, but it's chock-full of cool people. 
There is a little branch here, like 50 member frequency each week.  The branch president lived in the United States with his family for like seven years, so of course they all speak fluent English and just want to talk to me all the time.  But the people here are all really cool.  We have a lot of really solid investigators, but not a very big pool of investigators because with both of us sick last week we were not able to do very much work.  But we have a couple that has been working toward getting married for months, and finally we will have the privilege of seeing them through the final step on April 7th, the day of their marriage and baptism (and churrasco after)! We are also teaching a really cool couple that is progressing a ton, they are great people. 
Elder Carmo is super super sick!!  Well that could have dual meaning, but now I am referring solely to the part of being a great missionary!  Holy Crap he is a boss dude, humble, knowledgeable, ambitious and spiritual!  He is a funny guy, always got some weird joke or something up his sleeve.  I know we are going to do a lot of miracles here in this city. 
Well, our district changed since last week so now it is just us and the zone leaders.  That is going to be ill too, because, Elder Carmo's trainer is one of the ZLs and I have heard good things.  Basically I am just really excited about this transfer!  I think it is going to be one of the best I will have in my mission. 
I love you all, thanks for all your emails!  Don't hesitate to send them, I can easily print them out and read them if they are long.  I think I will start writing more letters by hand because our time is very short here on the computer!  I pray for you all, please pray with us for Medianeira and its citizens!

PS We live in an apartment, but we are right smack in the middle of the city by the huge Catholic church and the square, super luck!  We also have air conditioning... Celestial!

PSS I am so glad you got the package, I hope that stuff is cool!  (I have been told by several Brazilians that I have bad taste/style when I show them my photos LoL!)

Tudo que faz, faz com amor (everything you do, do with love)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Well the big news is this: I got transferred! It was really weird to leave Cambé after four months there. I gave a talk on Sunday in sacrament meeting (at the same time as Charlotte lol), so I was able to thank the members for everything they have done there in that ward to help the missionaries. I pretty much knew I was leaving since Thursday, because that's when we picked up a new missionary from the bus station.
Elder TeNgaio had been asking to train, so it was pretty much a done deal. But I didn't know when I would leave or where to until Monday morning. I was told I was going to... Foz do Iguaçu!! Well, to the Zone of Foz.
I left Cambé on Monday night at about 10, caught a bus in Londrina at 11, and arrived today in Foz at 8. I chilled there with one of the zone leaders and Elder Parrot, by buddy from the MTC, until about 9:00, when my new companion, Elder Carmo arrived!
Our area is about an hour from the bus terminal in Foz, so we got on another bus and got here at about 10:00 am.
The city where we will work is called Medeaneira, a city of about 60 thousand citizens. So far is is SIIIICK!!!! It is a really classy city, the principal street is a lot like California, and the weather is too. It is nicely organized like Utah, with hundreds of square blocks. It is just a branch here, but we will see if it can survive our onslaught without becoming a ward!
Elder Carmo is from Belem, basically the northern-most city in Brasil. He just got done with a five day hospital stay because of Dengue (I don't know what that is in English) so he is still not 100 percent force, but soon will be.
I'm feeling pretty crappy, I have had diarrhea and a weird piercing stomach ache for the last 3-4 days. And as soon as we got off of the bus this morning I started getting this crappy sore throat! But it will go away with time and work.
I got the birthday package!! Dang, thanks for all the stuff!! Of course I didn't have the patience to wait until Monday to open everything, so I opened some stuff today! Dang perfect candy and watch and pens! Holy geez I never once could feel so high class until I put on this calculator watch! I see Bic changed the look of their pens, but not the functionality! The newsletter of what everyone is doing is sick! I didn't open anything else until now, but I read your note mom, thanks soo much!
This area just feels really good. I'm glad to be with a companion that has been out about the same amount of time as me, I think we can just destroy people's non-faith with our testimonies and irresistible charm. He is super funny, I'm going to make some good videos this transfer!
Well its really weird to leave Cambé, but it had to happen eventually! Really I don't have a ton of information to pass because I'm thinking about what's gonna happen from here on out instead of the past, but just know that I was suuuper happy for the last six months!
I will never forget Cambe and all the people I met there, especially Doublas and Andre, the homeless dudes. They are just pure life, you know? Andre is just perma-stoned, but that dude is what he is, and doesn't have any problem with himself. Obviously this would be even better if he were applying himself to something better than drug trafficking. Doublas is just concerned about what is important: his soul.
I was able to give him a used Book of Mormon before leaving, and the change in his eyes was instantaneous. Maybe one day his life will change. But now I know that the rough that surrounds the diamond can be just as valuable and important as the diamond, and without the rough, the diamond really doesn't shine.