Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"...she will run into the waters of baptism."

Wow I just realized that I have been here for ELEVEN MONTHS what the heck! How did that happen?!
This week has been very excellent, we have aumented (is that a word? I think augmented...increased is what I am going for) our group of investigators about 150 percent. We found a lot of really good investigators and marked a ton of baptismal dates.
Elder Miranda and I are getting really close, becoming really good friends. I have been lucky to have basically only good companions so far on the mission.
We did a division for basically the last two days. I worked with Elder ____ on Monday. He is having an incredibly hard time speaking Portuguese, so he was able to vent with me and basically tell me stories about how he has anger problems. He realllly likes me, so I know that I am safe, but I am not so sure about he and his trainer. Tempers are short in that house and they cannot communicate at all.
Then yesterday I worked with Elder ____, who has a knack for finding and teaching, very emotionally and passionately, teenage females.
But we found one girl who seems like she listened to us not just because of our muscles (LoL). Her name is Taís, and she is 15. Basically she goes to an evangelical church called Brasil for Christ, but has not been baptized and wants to be.
We taught her about the restoration and she said that when she receives an answer to her prayer and knows that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true, she will run into the waters of baptism. So that was a pretty cool experience.
The rest of the week pretty much consisted of us running all over the place trying to contact all of our 97 references, figuring out which ones actually exist, who gave us their address as a joke, and stuff like that. So that has been fun.
This week was pretty chill, I don't have a lot of really interesting information. I miss soccer still, but will survive.
Love you all, best wishes

"But look how they treat us
Make us believers
We fight their battles
Then they decieve us
Tried to control us
They couldnt hold us
Cause we just move forward
Like Buffalo Soldiers"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"It was a really special experience, and the Spirit testified more than ever..."

Well done graffiti

Yoooo! So I would like to share a few initial thoughts about this new area. This keyboard is the worst yet, please forgive poor spelling!

1. Our ward mission leader looks like Ghandi, a lot
2. The members here really like missionaries, not just tolerate them.
3. There are recent converts here.
4. People go to the temple.
5. We live close to a huge supermarket.
6. The members are excited about the gospel.

Well that list turned out pretty unimpressive, but this area is the bomb. We have started from scratch, there were zero investigators here when I arrived. We have upped that number a bit, now we have a few investigators. It seems like the day is really short here! We have so much to do and so little time.
At church there were no investigators, but there should have been. People bail a lot, so we are going to involve the members a lot more, especially because they are so stoked to help us! It had been a while since I had seen anyone excited to help the missionaries in any way! But now it is just awesome.
There is a mom and daughter that were taught a year ago that are good friends of a mom and daughter in the ward here. We visited with the daughter, and she seemed pretty interested in the church, so we are going to try teaching them a lot. They would be really good members because they will have an incredible system of support. So we hope that continues.
Also we taught the friend of a returning-to-activity young man and his family. They seemed cool too, but they were not home on the return visit.
One really neat experience we had was yesterday. We went to the house of a less active woman who actually has a returned missionary son (there are returned missionaries here!!!) and a daughter who was married in the temple. So we got there and I asked her if she reads the Book of Mormon. She said that she doesn't really believe in the Book of Mormon, and that she only reads the Bible.
So we taught her about what the Book of Mormon is, why it is true, then answered a rather stunning question: "How do you do the Mormon prayer?" Apparently the missionaries that taught her 15 years ago were too quick and failed to teach her how to pray or teach her about the Word of Wisdom.
So we taught her to pray, and she said that she could feel the spirit a lot. We gave her a blessing to combat her depression, and left. It was a really special experience, and the spirit testified more than ever before to me that the Book of Mormon is true, the most true on earth.
Also in my district, there is a very new missionary. He is having a really hard time and carries a big hunting knife with him at all times. He has basically lost hope/desire to learn Portuguese.
If anyone prays, pray for this dude! There are two positive aspects of him being blessed: 1. He will be happy and bless the lives of others 2. He wont go nuts and stab all members of the district to death.
Love you all, sorry for the short email. This computer is low quality.

P.S. There is a ton of really beautiful graffiti here, it has inspired me to start practicing in a notebook!

"But look how they treat us
Make us believers
We fight their battles
Then they decieve us
Tried to control us
They couldnt hold us
Cause we just move forward
Like Buffalo Soldiers"

A sign that is funny in a park

A nice cloud

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"But of course, there are those phenomenal exceptions."

Elder Miranda and I

The Portuguese translation of Barack Obama

The Tavares' and I

Well as you can all tell from the subject of this email, I was transferred today/yesterday. I grabbed a bus out of Foz at 9:40 last night and got to Londrina at about 6 this morning. I am now working in the Semíramis ward which is in the poorest part of Londrina (YESSSSSSS) so that's pretty cool.
The new comp is named Elder Miranda. He is from the amazon rain forest. That is actually not true, but he is from the state Amazon. He has been on the mission for about 5 months, so that's pretty cool. I'm excited to get to know him, he seems like a pretty chill dude.
Basically it looks like they stopped doing work here for the last little while so we will have to resurrect this area. But it's cool. Elder Proulx stayed in Medianeira and will receive Elder Madrid. I don't know why we switched spots, but whatever.
Well in the last week we brought Marinalva to church with three of her children. That is pretty cool, but the problem is that when people go to church in Medianeira they are not well received and feel really awkward. It normally ends their interest in the church, normally.
But of course, there are those phenomenal exceptions. One of these exceptions would be Ivonete. She went to church last week, and was a little shocked by the lack of people there. But we blitzed her yesterday with a lot of baptism talk. It is still a long way away (she isn't married to her spouse) but she is progressing really well. She knows without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is the truth. We invited her to prepare to be baptized, which she accepted after learning the importance and existence of priesthood authority. So I am stoked about her progress. I hope she gets married and baptized soon.
This was not the longest email, but it's about all I have for now. Oh yeah, one last story from the zone conference. So we go in the church, and there is this opossum in the gym. I messed with it with a broom a little, but it was aggressive, so i ditched it.
They called the bishop, who came in with a big broom. He was like "We have to kill it, there is no other option". So he got this stick and just started beating it on the head and back until it died. It was really gruesome, it was like bleeding out of its ears and stuff. But I guess it's just a part of the job as bishop.
Love you all
The Animal

"But look how they treat us
Make us believers
We fight their battles
Then they deceive us
Tried to control us
They couldn't hold us
Cause we just move forward
Like Buffalo Soldiers"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"It is a positive exercise, except probably Elder Proulx thinks I am crazy."

The flag

The fantastic burgers

The feast

YOoooo family,
This week was nice, arguably the social highlight was JULY 4!!! YEAH crazy party in the apartment, check the photos. I threw on the jeans, the Nikes, a tiger shirt, and we ate cheeseburgers, chips, soda, brownies, and cereal. I have never been so patriotic in my life. I even got out the kazoo to play/beatbox The Star Spangled Banner, ill times.
Anyway, the week was good in terms of actual stuff too. We FINALLY got Ivonete to go to church. She liked it, but wishes there were more people. I know how she feels. But she is stressin in a good way about keeping the commandments like the WoW and stuff. Things are going very well, and she is gaining a strong testimony.
One problem with a lot of our really good investigators is that they are hard/impossible to find at home!! Lourdes has taken up traveling to Cascavel and staying there for long periods of time as a hobby, making it impossible for us to teach her. So that's basically a matter of perseverance.
So Brasil was eliminated, I must admit I am not disappointed. I was sick of their cocky attitudes and lack of faith until results started showing. So I hope Holland can win this thing, but my goodness... Germany must be the most in-form team in the history of the world cup! 4-0 over Argentina (which gave the Brasilians a chance to use their unspent fireworks), 4-1 over England, 4-0 over Australia... It is difficult to hit 4 ONCE in a world cup, and the Germans have done it thrice against good, organized defenses. I can't see them being stopped. But the Spaniards have basically found a way until now, so only time (about 5 hours from now) will tell.
So President Leal left last Wednesday. The zone leaders already met President Tavares, they said he is nearly the opposite of Leal. So far the only change in effect is that we have time for breakfast AND language study. So I have been doing a lot of reading and lesson giving in the bedroom, recording myself on my camera to make sure everything is actually understandable and trying to find the best way to present things. It is a positive exercise, except probably Elder Proulx thinks I am crazy. He is probably right.
I scored big time when we received mail on Monday! I got the package with ELEVEN packages of PB Eminims, two of sour skittles, the Conference Ensign (Tearin it up already) and those cool little things for each country of the world cup. Also the DVDs of music and stuff, so I'm stoked for that. Also got letters from the two roommates from USU, Scott and Philly, so that was pretty exciting.
Here is something interesting: The letters that the young men wrote to me several months ago (postmarked March 24) got here just now. I am absolutely baffled as to why it could have taken so long for them to get here, but it was worth the wait.
We have Zone Conference for the first time with the new president tomorrow, so that is exciting.
I got a haircut today. I am so sick of haircuts.
Love you all
The haul of mail

A hippie

A car/motorcycle accident in front of the house--nasty fractured leg flopping all around