Monday, January 31, 2011

"...there are too many people to teach and too little time!"

The baptism of Laynife: Me, Elder De Azevedo, Laynife,
Luciana, Luciene, Breno (the ward mission leader), and his wife Luiana

So on Tuesday Elder De Azevedo headed out. Elder Prado got in at about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. We have basically been shredding it since his arrival, more than ever on my mission. We pretty much set a Quebec record for people taught this week, it was boss, and we found a ton of new people. Elder Prado is a pretty cool guy...for now he is planning on staying on the mission, so that is good news.
My legs were very, very, very sore on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I didn't warm up or stretch or anything before playing soccer on Monday. Before the mission I always just went straight to work shooting and running fast and there were no repercussions. But my legs are aging and warm up will be a necessity from here on out.
Time is going by really fast, there are too many people to teach and too little time! But we found a bunch of dope ones on Saturday and Sunday. I'll just give a brief description of them.
The most boss is Junior. We found his name among old references that past missionaries got. We passed by his house on Saturday and he is dang rich. Generally rich people give us their name and tell us to pass another day just to get rid of us, and I feared the same with Junior. But we rang his interphone and he let us in after putting his rottweilers away.
He is dang sick, he is Presbyterian and lives with his wife. We taught him the restoration and he understood, which is super super rare. He got stoked about the BoM (which we are teaching in the first lesson always now. We used to not talk about it til the second visit.) and promised to read it. So we are super stoked about him.
Shortly after leaving Junior's house, we found Erica, who is also dang cool. She is a journalist and doesn't go to any church. She also payed attention to what we said and understood, and also got psyched because of the BoM. She is really busy most of the time, but said that on Sunday she will go to church.
There were other people too, but I don't have time to talk about all of them.
Love you all, have a good week. Oh also, my "heartburn" passed and the doctor said it was probably just gas. That is relieving. Love
Elder Prado and I

"And the story goes on
there's no glory and the worry takes a toll on
his own body but his buddies wanna roll on
It's all bloody when the car comes to a stop
the police with the big glocks pull 'em out
they say freeze but there's only one one comin out
there's two dead with a legal gun to his head
It's stupid, he shoulda played ball instead

Monday, January 24, 2011

"...we were liberated to play soccer for this one day!"

We finally broke the Quebec curse!! It had been seven months since the last baptism here, and finally we stopped that with Laynife (whose name I have been writing and saying wrong since I met her).
She was baptized on Saturday and confirmed Sunday. It was really good, her mom, who is Catholic and didn't go to the baptism of the older daughter, went to the baptism and confirmation, and we are going to work with her.
Today was Zone P-day with president, and we were liberated to play soccer for this one day! Elder Allred is here in the zone, so we played on the same team and remembered the good old days, scoring sick goals left and right.
It´s safe to say that the Brazilians were all dang surprised that we were able to chop them. We played for about two hours before lunch and two after, it was refreshing.
We also went to an all-you-can-eat ice creamery, that was pretty good, but I am feeling pretty sick now. That will pass quickly.
Speaking of stomach feelings, how does heartburn feel? I fear that I have heartburn, it's basically a sensation that I feel like it would be good to throw up at any moment, this weird pain in the esophagus only. I have had this sensation since about Saturday, I will call sister Tavares about it.
I'm dang stoked that Spencer got his eagle!! That's what I'm talking about!
Our group of investigators shrunk, a lot of people are just too lazy to pray or read, so that makes it really hard for them to progress.
Rosangela is basically stuck. She has been reading the Book of Mormon like nuts, already got to Alma. But she can't really go to church because she has to take care of her mother in law. Her mother in law doesn't like to go to church, so really she is in a pickle. We are coming to a crucial point wit her.
So we found out about the transfers today, Elder De Azevedo is being transferred and I will NOT be training! Yeah! My new comp will be Elder Prado, from Goiânia. I have heard that he is dang cool. I have had comps from almost every part of Brasil now- the northeast, the north (3), São Paulo, now the Midwest. I just need a comp from the south to finish things off. Aside from that change, our district will stay the same. I'm glad, I really like the Elders here.
Everything is good here, I am dang stoked to be here. I have passed through a lot of testimonial challenges and have gotten a lot stronger. I have made no doubt a ton of friends for life, and my shot has become harder and more accurate hahaha. Weird that I have gotten better at soccer without playing.
Thanks for verifying all the info for my college, generally we leave the mission a couple weeks before our entry date, so I'm pretty sure that I will be back in time to start without any problems. Is there any way to renew my drivers license from here, or will I have to do another drivers test and stuff when I get back?
Thanks for all the things you have all done for me, it has made things really easy here.
Love you all

Sorry, no photos

"And the story goes on
there's no glory and the worry takes a toll on
his own body but his buddies wanna roll on
It's all bloody when the car comes to a stop
the police with the big glocks pull 'em out
they say freeze but there's only one one comin out
there's two dead with a legal gun to his head
It's stupid, he shoulda played ball instead"

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Baptism is essential, but it really doesn't help if the person isn't going to even try to stay firm."

A frog

We ran into a ton of pretty funny people this week. We decided to work in a wealthy area that we had never worked in before.
So we were knocking doors (pushing intercom buttons actually) and we got a few good references. Then we got to this one house and this dude named Paulo came out and opened the gate for us without saying anything. So we went and sat down and started the message like normal.
He didn't say anything until we invited him to pray about Joseph Smith. Then he was like "What will I get for that?" So we re-explained what it means to have a living prophet. Then he went into this long explanation about how he doesn't go to any church because they all have men involved.
I was like "Well yeah, what do you expect, that God himself shows up personally to build a church and teach the people? He has always used men and always will." Then he told us that he had heard that we used the pretense of a message about Christ to get in and then talk about Joseph Smith. So I was like "Well yeah, that's basically how it works. They really go hand-in-hand"
Then he got all confused as to the word anti-Christ and said that Joseph Smith was an anti-Christ, so then I told him that in our message we explain what the Restoration is.
Then he was like "Oh I meant someone who comes before Christ, not someone against Christ" (the prefixes anti and ante sound basically the same in Portuguese, but one means against and the other means before.)
To close he was like "I hope you tell your superiors that I caught you in your trick and discovered your plan" (talking about the Restoration). It was a pretty funny lesson. But we found a bunch of good investigators in that area, so it was good in the end.
I did a baptismal interview on Saturday, but the dude failed miserably. It looked like the elders really hadn't taught him anything or asked him if he would be willing to keep commandments. Baptism is essential, but it really doesn't help if the person isn't going to even try to stay firm. It's like giving a pig a bath hoping that it wont roll in the mud, basically just a Hail Mary.
This zone is the zone that generally baptizes most, so there is a lot of pressure from the zone leaders. But I decided to seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, rather than damn myself and the people we teach just to please the zone leaders.
I am going to buy a cool leather scripture case for my quad, there is this person that does drawings in leather of scripture scenes and stuff, so I'm going to order that today. I remembered some things that would be helpful for my birthday. You sent me that CD "The Master's Touch" for Christmas, but the CD didn't work. Could you burn me another copy and send that? That would be really nice. Also some ranch dressing (Kraft, just normal ranch), and some vitamins. Vitamins are extremely expensive here, like 60 dollars for 100 vitamins. some more country gravy mix would also be beneficial.
Things are going very well, we are working a ton and until now the results haven't come, but hopefully soon it will work out. Laynefer will be baptized on Saturday.
The view from the bishop's apartment

A snake smoking a pipe
The symbol of the Brazilian operation in Italy in World War II (maybe?)

"One of them got out a revolver, and the man said, "Yes, this may scare people who believe in many gods and one world, because for them this would end everything. I am a person who believes in one god, but in many worlds. So you can't scare me with that."

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Her name is super bizarre in Portuguese...but we will baptize her all the same."

A sunrise

Igapo Lake in my area

SUBWAY for lunch

Well, this week was pretty normal. Rosangela is doing well, she has read until 2 Nephi something and is liking it. We are trying to get her to pray, which has been a problem for her until now. When she takes time to pray and see if the book is true, she will be baptized, and probably her sons will just follow her example.
Her husband, Adão is really hard to find at home, and he doesn't communicate very well with his wife. But that family is way bomb, Rosangela said that really she hasn't followed any church steadily because her mom was a fervent Catholic that spent more time at church that with her kids. So Rosangela never really liked churches and promised herself that her children would always be priority.
Now that her kids are old (one about to start the last year of high school and the other already in college) she has time to follow a church. The only real problem is that her mother-in-law, Dina, has Alzheimers and three hours in church are very tiring for her. Rosangela usually takes care of Dina, so that makes it hard for her to come to church. But her progress is good, her sons are starting to get interested (one asked what happens to babies and small children that die-MORONI 8). So that is the family that I like most and is progressing best.
There is this eight year old girl whose sister is a member that wants to get baptized. Her name is super bizarre in Portuguese, Laynefer (pronounced LINE-eh-fur) but we will baptize her all the same.
We have a few other people that are doing alright, but nobody that I haven't already mentioned.
We helped the other elders in the district in their area the other day, and they sent us to this place that they had never visited before.
It is a really big neighborhood on the map, so we were stoked to establish the church there. We had to cut through the university to get to the area, about a 40 minute walk. We got to where the neighborhood should have been and found only partially finished roads covered in a soy plantation. I took a photo of the Lost Neighborhood and attached it in this email.
I ate Subway for lunch last Tuesday, daaang subway is GOOOD. My comp thinks it is worthless junk food. but whatever, I got it on whole bread.
Well, the mission is the best. We are having a great time, our relationship is good, and the success is just around the corner. I am diggin this area.
For my birthday I could use some learning glasses (I think I explained it before Christmas), and basically letters and photos and stuff. I thought of something else, I will think of it and tell you next week.
Love you all
The lost city

Pay close attention to the impressive tan lines on my arm from my shirt and watch

"One of them got out a revolver, and the man said, "Yes, this may scare people who believe in many gods and one world, because for them this would end everything. I am a person who believes in one god, but in many worlds. So you can't scare me with that."

Monday, January 3, 2011

First email of the last year

I made a bomb new years video at midnight. I was asleep and then the concentration of fireworks started at midnight and woke me up. So I was like, "I'm not going to be able to sleep through this." So I got up, put on a shirt, and made a video. It was pretty good I think.
There were fireworks going off basically from Christmas Eve til Sunday afternoon, so that has been kinda bomb, kinda lame. Bomb when they are colored fireworks, lame when it is just a really loud bomb that flies in the air and irritates everyone in the neighborhood.
But New Years Eve was cool, we could see a lot of fireworks from our porch. I mustered up the courage to use some of those poppers you sent me and the air horn, my comp thought they were all cool.
We had a surprisingly successful week, the holiday basically took all people out of commission on Friday and Saturday, all drunk or sleeping. But one couple we are teaching, Rosangela and Adão, came to church and brought Adão's Alzheimer-inflicted mom. They liked it.
Also this recent convert who moved here from Belem came to church and brought her younger sister, Laynefer, who wants to be baptized. So that will be bomb. Another investigator we have is named Carla. She is pretty good, she wants to get baptized, but the overdose death of a close friend messed up Sunday so she couldn't go to church.
But she is pretty set for baptism on the 16th. With any luck, we will baptize Adão, Rosangela, Carla, and Laynefer on the 16th and break the Quebec curse (no baptisms since May) and get a barbecue from the first counselor in the stake presidency that lives in our ward.
Three baptisms in a month gets us that prize, it was like the first thing he told us when he picked us up to bring us to this area. The ward is coming along a lot, really getting behind us and offering basically whatever we ask. Except referrals haha.
It has been really hot here recently. I have been using a lot of sunscreen because I don't want cancer.
Today will be an interesting Pday. My visa expired about four months ago, so today I am going to renew it. Someone in São Paulo controls who renews the visa when, so I have been forced to be here illegally for the last few months. It has been interesting, now I know what it is like to be an illegal immigrant: completely normal, I still feel human and still have been treated with respect.
If only the states in America could treat their aliens the same. Was that law repealed yet?
ANYWAY things are good here with my comp. I tried to discuss the possible benefits of legalizing marijuana with him, but he got kinda upset and said he would tell President Tavares. I told him that was fine. What is the legal status of weed in the USA right about now? And is there still like a civil war because of drugs going on in Mexico?
Well, that's about all I have to say. I hope you all have a great week, sorry I don't have any photos this week
Love you,

"One of them got out a revolver, and the man said, "Yes, this may scare people who believe in many gods and one world, because for them this would end everything. I am a person who believes in one god, but in many worlds. So you can't scare me with that."