Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ben works through transfer logistics

Friday, May 3, 2013 7:48 AM

Dear Family,
So the Transfer is over.  It has been really stressful   I was not prepared for the transfer and because of that I did not have a very nice week.  The transfer was passed to me on Sunday afternoon (really late because President Scisci had to resolve some problems that appeared when he filed his taxes, he is really super rich owns his own IT business so you can imagine how there can be a lot of things to resolve).  So Sunday afternoon I had to handle almost all of the logistics.  Thankfully the secretaries helped a lot.  But it got really complicated with 48 missionaries being transferred to different areas.  That means a whole lot of logistics.  Many of the missionaries had multiple parts to their trip and had to go by taxi, plane and boat to complete the transfer.  Along with the planning that it takes to not leave anyone alone, it got really frustrating really fast!  Only one elder lost his plane home and only one other elder was stranded at a rural airport when his flight was changed.  In the end, it all worked out.  I didn't get enough sleep about 5 hours a night for a few days. And I didn't have much of an appetite.  But it is over and I got to go running today and eat breakfast!!!!!  I wish that I had been briefed on how I could have handled it better.  Needless, to say I will resolve these problems before the next transfer.

Last week we finished the last zone conference here in Belém.  Many people commented on how my presentation was nice.  I have attached the presentation I used.  I just remembered that it is in Portuguese.  I also incorporated a practice on how to "follow up" on the commitments we extend to help our investigators progress.  And at the end I showed a clip that I edited from "the First Ascent (the part from the hanging rocks in Thailand) I would recommend the film if you have not seen it already, (it's about rock climbing).  I edited a part where a bunch of young climbers where trying a route and the fall a lot at a specific part.  But at the end one of them make it to the end.  It’s cool because they don’t use ropes they just fall in the water.

My new Companion is.....    .... Elder Leite!!!!   

It has been nice to have him as my companion again.  We worked well together in Satelíte.  I am excited for this next transfer!!!!

Got to go now!!  I will have my first real p-day for weeks today!

Love you all.  I’ll write more next week.

AV.NAZARÉ ,532 SALA  412  
66035-170 Belém PA Brasil

A Return to Abaetetuba


Hey family,

I have been really busy with stuff here.

But I have a good story for you all.  Last week I got back from Santarém and had a really short p-day that really was not a p-day, because I had to finish a lot of work here in the office.  After that I talked to Pres. Scisci and made plans to go to Abaetetuba for the dedication of the chapel there.  So the next day I traveled to Abaetetuba with President  Scisci and Sister Scisci (that is the second time I have gone by ferry to Abaetetuba with the Pres. and his wife -- once I went with Pres. Campos when I arrived in the mission and the trip last week).  It was a nice trip.  I got to see a lot of people I baptized.  I also got to baptize a man that I had taught more than a year ago.  He found the missionaries a few weeks ago and he started going to church.  I got to do the baptismal interview and he chose me right before the baptism to baptize him!  I didn't have clothes but it all worked out.  Luckily I was wearing mesh garments so I dried fast.  The dedication was nice and I loved visiting.  Apparently I'm well known there and everyone liked calling me Clarky Kent.  The Brasilian accent is funny.   It’s like “Clarky Kainche” it sounds like they say “quente” which means “hot.”  It´s pretty funny.  I think the best part was seeing that a lot of the people I baptized are going to church and then one of the young women even went to the temple this week.  A lot of family members of these members have also been baptized, so that was really sweet.

 I think that I saw almost all of them.  There were just three that I could not find.  I know that I should use more details but I'm a little stressed out and tired because of the constant traveling.  My companion, Elder M., went to visit one of his old areas with some other elders and so I have been pretty alone here...  Well, you know, not alone because I have been with other missionaries, but being without a normal companion has been a bit sad.  

I think that my companion is a bit ticked off at me.  The day before I left for Abaetetuba we had a dinner for a missionary that was leaving the mission and afterwards, during the interview of that elder, I had to wait for him to finish the interview with Elder.  Sister Scisci put us to work putting the dishes in the dish washer while she left to run an errand.  I did most of the work with the dishes while Elder M. went to sleep on the couch of the Pres.  I ended up washing all the dishes alone, but I felt good about it because I didn’t have anything else I could do and for the moment washing the dishes was, well,  what I had to do to Magnify my calling : )    

Google picture, not actual dishes.

The next day I called Pres. Scisci to talk to him a little about how the mission was in terms of baptisms,  and Sister Scisci answered the phone and said thank you for the work I had done with the dishes, she said, “Thanks for doing all the dishes while Elder M. slept.”  (Apparently she came back for a moment and saw my comp sleeping and me working.  She is pretty stealthy because I did not hear her).  Then the next day she saw Elder M. she chewed him out in front of me.  That put me in a tough spot because what I did made him look bad.  Luckily the encounter was when we were loading up the car to leave for Abaetetuba so he had a few days away from me to cool down.

P.S. The internet fell and I wasn’t able to send the message earlier.


So Elder M. finished his mission and is in São Paulo right now.  And I am here in the office working on the transfer with the secretaries.  I don’t have a new companion and will only get one on Monday I think.  So this week end will be really crazy, especially because I have never done a transfer before.  But like Mom always says, keep calm because it will all get done... well she said something like that when I had a lot of big school work and stuff.  

Love you all!!!  

Ben Visits Santarém

April 15, 2013

Dear Family,

I’m now in Santarém.  Look for it on Google maps.  

It’s in the middle of the rain forest and has very few paved roads. There is a stake here that was formed about a year ago.  The zone is doing well with the exception of a few areas, with whom I have done divisions with to help out.  Yesterday I had a really great experience helping a family prepare the papers to get married they are really fun and where really excited to marry so that they could get baptized.  I attached two pictures.  One is of the family I helped get married (they are Raimundo and Jess, and they live in Santarém) the other picture is the view from the super cool 3 story house where I live (the staff house).  [The pictures weren’t attached so I’ve put in a pic I found on Google.]

I also got to teach a man (Rodrigo) that is was really prepared to be baptized about tithing.  It was really cool.  Afterwards I did his baptismal interview.  It was amazing to get to know him and play a small part in his conversion.  He was a referral from a member.  The member was old friends with him and invited him to an Adult singles retreat, and the young adults of the stake all helped him integrate into the church.  It also helped that he is 27 good-looking single and plays the guitar...  he probably won’t be single for long.  So give referrals to the missionaries!!!! Comparing my mission with the mission in Moscow, one of the largest differences is that here the members talk a whole lot about the church with others and are not as shy about inviting friends.   There are a few other differences but that is one that we can control regardless of our culture of population.  There is a part in PMG that says that "nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach".  Before my mission I preferred to bear my testimony with my actions, and be an example to nonmembers.  This sort of tactic in missionary work I have come to realize is a little bit unbalanced.  We also need to invite.  Without an invitation it is almost impossible for people to change.  So Dad, you talked a little about how there will be a lot more missionaries in our area with few people to teach personally I think this is one thing that is lacking that could help a lot.  Our family is really good at the example part showing others what we believe and that we are Mormons but our family I think can improve a lot on the other side of the missionary work that is the invitation.  Remember to help the ward with this they will need some strong leaders to show them the way.  The best leaders lead by example!

To finish up...
Ellis, my favorite food here is Tacacá, and the craziest thing I have eaten is Turú (worms that eat wood, you eat them raw) 
Emma, I hope you took don’t get nervous about the track meets, you just need to beet yourself the others don’t matter.
Eliza, what did you end up deciding about the mission?
Dan, I hope you passed your belt exam!!!

So I’m a little out of time to write.
Love you all!!!

PS. I sent a letter to Quincey so I hope she will respond here in about a month.