Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18, 2013 Letter

So this week we didn't have a baptism.  But this week it looks like we will have 3!

I started the week with a light cough that steadily got worse as the week progressed.  By Thursday my tonsils and lymph nodes  were super swollen it started getting hard for me to swallow and then my voice started to get lost ; )  Yeah, so that was really frustrating   I ended up going to the doctor Saturday morning and he passed a prescription for anti-inflammatory and antibiotics.  I also asked him about a small cough or "err hmm"  I have had for a long time (a few years)  I just started noticing it because a sister in my zone (that sings almost professionally) and asked me about it.  I guess I always thought that it was something normal because I sing a lot and played a bunch of sports that required a lot of yelling.  I started trying to remember when I started with the ''errr hmmm'' and I remembered that in my sophomore year in high school during a soccer game I was hit in the throat and coughed up blood,  and afterwards I lost my voice for a few days.  Well the doctor said that I could be a scar or mini laceration that is causing irritation or producing mucus.  So he said that I could see a specialist who could resolve the problem for me.  I don’t think that it’s something that is really urgent so maybe when I get home I will look for a specialist that can take a look at my throat. 

So other than that stuff, the week was good.  I got to visit Outeiro again on Sunday as part of a Stake activity that I planned to help the branch.  I visited José Gabriele and Lourdes.  Gabriele was a girl I baptized there.  The family has had some problems with health and because of that they have a lot of debts (unfortunately the debts are with a loan shark).  But because Lourdes got so sick she wasn’t baptized.  During the visit I taught about the necessity of baptism and the healing effects of the gospel (I used Alma 36,I think, when Alma recounts the agony and pain of sin and the peace and joy that comes through the atonement of Christ).  At the end of the visit I challenged Lourdes to be baptized this next Saturday.  It was a powerful visit.  Oh and she accepted, but wanted to pray about it first.  I also told her that if by Saturday she had received an answer that I would love to baptize her.

I think the mission is really tough but definitely worth it.  I learn so much each day and it’s exciting to meet new challenges.  

We have just finished one more transfer and I will be staying here in Satélite for at least 6 more weeks with Elder Leite.  But our zone has moved a lot.  It’s not going to be easy with a some of the missionaries that are arriving in the zone but I will do my best to help them be their best.

I love you guys so much!  Eu amo Voces!  Yeah that’s right.  I love you guys in English and Portuguese. ; )


4 Weeks of Letters

 January 21, 2013

            So this week was pretty good. Last Monday after I wrote to you all I made a delicious apple pie in the shape of a heart and made an N+E out of pie crust to put on top for Nilse and Edimilson who are a couple we are teaching.  We made a surprise for Edimilson.  Nilse wanted to get married and we came up with a plan to help her propose to Edimilson.  It involved the pie I made and Cupuacú ice cream.  It turned out really well and he said yes.  I joked with her that she was a modern woman because she took the initiative.  I thought that was funny.  They will have plans to get married legally on the 10th of February.   We found a lot of people that have a lot of potential,  

            I have a special story, so yesterday we had splits with two young men and I was with Gabriel.  I was a bit frustrated because we had a lot of  investigators that didn't come to church and life on the mission is just stressful in general (but rewarding to) and we had no one to visit so we went to visit a friend of Gabriel who had been visited by other elders in the past.  We talked to him a bit, then I taught the Restoration and the friend (Ian) accepted the invitation to pray and be baptized on the 9th of February.  I was thinking, “Cool.  This kid is understanding really well, and he has a desire to learn.”  So I was a bit happier.  Then Ian´s dad Amiraldo wanted to talk to us and get to know us.  Man, I was impressed.  Amiraldo is one of the smartest people I have met on my mission but at the same time he ´´fears God.´´ He is 42 and is a self-employed graphic artist.  He is one of those types of people that dropped out of high school but study a lot and read a lot of books. Like Bill Gates -- really smart, but didn’t go about being smart in system.  He talked with us for a while and because we did not have other people to visit I spent more time getting to know him and the conversation was excellent.  He had some really interesting thoughts about Mary the mother of Jesus that were clearly inspired.   He grew up in the Catholic Church but now he said to us that the Catholic Church is not for him because of doctrinal inconsistencies.  He told us about some of the problems he was facing in his marriage (his wife is sick and that puts more weight on his shoulders.)  So by the end I taught the Restoration and invited him to pray and then he told us that he had already read the pamphlet and wanted to go to church and that he had really been waiting for us.  Man, it was really special.  I felt really connected with him like I had already known him.  He reminds me a lot of Mom and Dad in his reasoning (and he likes U2 and the Doors, Jimmy Hendrix).  I felt really good and nothing felt forced when I talked to him.  The Spirit was there to testify with me and we left feeling really great.  

            I believe there are people that I knew before in the pre-existence and that are waiting for me to find them.  This man was truly prepared to meet me and hear my testimony of the restored Gospel.  

I hope everything is going well for you all!  Don’t miss me too much.


January 28, 2013

                So Mom, thanks for the letter.  The shoes fit but gave me blisters so I am working them in slowly. These past few weeks have been a bit tough for you guys in terms of deaths, I hope that everyone is coping.  

                Thanks for talking to my counselor and researching about my options for school. I think that it is a great idea to retake a few of those classes, especially because I don’t feel really secure with the material that was taught.  I would love it if you could talk to Coach Weiss to see if it will be an option for me to play with the team at BYU.  
So this week was pretty stressful.  We didn’t have a good p-day last week so it started off on the wrong foot.  We did two different divisions with other areas in our zone.  I got to go to Outeiro and see a few people that I taught there.  We have been short on time and our investigators started to get soft.  We had a group that was pretty good;  like the Doctrine and Covenants counsels:  search for the rich and learned.  Well, we found a lot these last weeks and had a lot of progress with them until Sunday.  No one we taught this week went to church.  That is tough.  But this week will be different.  Amiraldo worked, or something like that, this Sunday but he has promised to visit and told me that his intention was to learn more about the church and in the future maybe become a member (he did not accept a baptismal date).  It’s not easy to teach smart people.

                I also got sick on Friday, with what I don’t know.  And Saturday and Sunday I felt really weak with body aches and symptoms of a fever minus the fever.  That was really frustrating.  I felt really tired these days but we worked like normal because the work does not stop.  I am feeling a bit better today. The body aches stopped but I feel a pain in my stomach like its empty even though I have eaten things last evening as well as this morning.  

                I am doing well other than that stuff. 

                I will make an apple pie this afternoon and I will eat it with E. Guedes and E. Stacy who are from the next area over. They are both Americans and really crazy.  E Guedes is a citizen of Brazil as well.  His parents are Brazilian but he was born in Utah.  Logan I think.

                Love you all!!!!!! I will try to write letters today.  Oh and big news:  I found out yesterday that I will come home on the 23 of July because transfers fell on that day.  I am thinking about talking to Pres Scisci about staying one more transfer but there are a lot of things to consider like school, work, and my siblings falling ill from missing me so much... etc... so we will see.


February 4, 2013

Dear family
So this week has been interesting, I got better from the whole stomach problem.  We had a zone council with all of the zone leaders in the mission. That was nice I feel like I learned a lot.  I am writing this letter super fast because we are at the end of our p-day and we still need to take the bus to return to our area.  We found a really cool old man the other day, he is 80 years old and his late wife was a member.  Apparently he had a dream where his wife told him that he needed to join the church and prepare for the next life the next day he talked to a member that lives close by who took us to his house Sunday night.  He will be baptized next Saturday.  

Our baptism fell through this last week and that was really frustrating.  Suane (our baptism) was really solid until Saturday night when we got a text from her saying that she would get baptized the next day.  Later she sent a text saying that she would go to the Catholic Church instead.  That was super sad after all we taught her she turned her back on it. Even after she got an answer to her prayer.  We will visit her again to try and resolve her doubts and maybe stop teaching her. 

We are still animated despite this and we have other people to baptize.  

I think that I will stick with the 23 of July as my return date.  

I love you guys a lot!!!

February 11, 2013
Hey Fam,
So I wrote part of a letter to you guys and took a picture of it and attached it to this email.  So I think it would be best to read the attached letter first because I will explain the rest of the letter now.
Read the attached letter:
Dear Family,
Yesterday I passed the 18 month mark on my mission.  That is a long time, but I feel like it has been time well spent.  I’m looking forward to the last 6 months.  They should be productive now that I have much more experience.  I have really learned a lot in the time I have been here, especially about helping others through the Gospel.  When we teach the gospel we begin to understand with much more clarity.  That is one of the reasons why the church does not have paid clergy – because everyone needs to learn and teach to reach our full potential. 
So the same old things have been happening around here.  I gave a talk last Sunday about faith and cairns in the fog.  I thought it turned out alright, even though I didn’t have any time to prepare.  I told a story about Granite Peak and the fog there.  I also used the first verse of “Lead Kindly Light.”  I think that helped the talk communicate the need for faith and illustrates well the fact that we won’t always have a perfect knowledge of our path but that the light of our Savior will never lead us astray.  I also “played” the piano in Sacrament meeting.  Well, it was more like “operating” the piano because it is electric and pre-programmed with almost all the Portuguese hymns. 
So last P-day was pretty tiring and difficult.  We went to the mission office in Belém 1.15 [an hour and 15 minutes?] one way by bus to be interviewed by the Assistants.  It took a long time, mostly because it took 3 hours to renew my visa, but now I’m legal again!!! We got back to our house at about 5:15 and then Elder Leite realized that he had left our keys in the mission office.  Why he left our keys in the mission office, I do not know.  So, we visited a member close to our house (where we had family night planned) and then returned to Belém.  We had to stay the night at the mission home (where the staff lives).  We didn’t get back to our house until 10:00 the next morning.  I got to talk a lot with Elder Anderson, one of the assistants to the President.  That was nice.  He was trained by Elder R. Silva (my trainer) and he is from Burley [Idaho].  So because of these things in common there was a lot to talk about.  He reminded me of Mike and Hayden. 
So while I was at the mission office, Elder Anderson showed me some watches that a member was selling.  The member is a policeman and was selling the watches through a police auction (the watch had been confiscated entering the country illegally).  They were all TAG Heuer watches.  In the store these watches are really expensive. 
                Now I will continue.  So the watch I bought was a ´´Tag Heuer GRAND CARRERA Calibre 36´´ I bought it for 200 dollars but it is sold on the tag Heuer web site for 9000 dollars so I thought it was a good deal.  I had to think a lot about it because it’s one of those economic decisions that are a bit shady.  but I figured that if I didn’t want to use were a really expensive watch, or if I get really poor and need money for college I can pawn it or sell it to a rich person and get at least what I paid for it.  

                Oh dad I had a question did you transfer money from my account? Because a few months ago I had more than 5000 real in my account that is equal to about 2500 dollars but I looked at the balance at the ATM today and I only had 750-ish real or a bit less than 400 dollars so I was wondering if that was right.

                So this week has been a bit stressful in terms of work.  I feel a lot of stress trying to be a good zone leader, helping my zone and working to have success in my own area.  Thankfully things worked out alright in the end.  We baptized an 11 year old boy named Claudio.  He is pretty cool.  

                We have had problems getting people to commit to coming to church.  A lot of the time they say they will go but then end up sleeping, make up excuses or say that they will spend time with extended family.  That has been frustrating but it will work out we just need to keep working hard and maybe teach more about the importance of going to church.  

I am doing great overall I’m working hard and trying to become a better missionary.  

I’m also coming down with a cold but it’s not too bad.

I love you all a lot!!!!