Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Well, do I have some news for you!!!! At this point, we will be using SKYPE to video chat on Christmas day. I will call sometime this week before to work out a time, most likely Wednesday. And most likely mom... since her work number is the only one I can remember... haha. Isn’t that exciting?!!!!! So... umm... who exactly do you think will be there?

This past Sunday was hard for me. None of our investigators came to church. Well, one did come but she can’t be baptized because she needs to either get married or separate from her boyfriend husband person. But when she came... oh my gosh... it was the best thing that happened this week!!!

Yesterday, Sunday, was the Primary program and had nothing to do with Christmas. So the timing was a little weird... but hey!!! Haha. Me and my companion actually had a part in it!!! haha

Oh, also this past week, I found out that we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas because it actually isn’t Christ’s birthday... it’s Noah´s birthday? Ya... I am just as confused about that one as you... haha

This past week we went to the beach... I think that was this past week. I can’t remember. Anyhow, we went to the beach and it was all raining and stuff. We played around on the beach then I helped President and Sister Batt serve lunch. It was so good. Sister Batt made that American shredded beef in like the BBQ sauce... it was amazing!!!

Well... about the package... I went and almost got away with it. Basically, there is no reasoning to it. They said any package over 50 reais has the same thing happen. Yet we have 200 dollar packages arrive. Basically from what I can tell is, any US package that goes through Rio has this problem. So really it seems to be a hit and miss. So it may stay in Brasil... or it may get sent back... they weren’t sure. I actually tried to pay for it and take it... but they, well, I don’t really know... I guess they don’t accept cards... yet in my hand I was holding a card reader... it was... odd. Basically, my Brazilian companion and I left very confused. Haha.

I am super excited for Logan´s letter!!!! Like really!!!

Do you all still have the sisters in your ward?

Any updates on friends and missions?

So what kind of physical therapy is Logan having?

So I am super excited to talk with you all on Christmas!!! I almost couldn’t get to sleep last night!!!

I love you all and wish you a good week!!! Until Christmas!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Well, speaking of transfers... they were today! haha. I am in the same area with a new companion, Elder R. Ferreira, another Brazilian which is really good for my Português! I get to be senior for a week as I show him around.  To be honest with you all I am rather worried about playing senior for a week. Yes I have done it before but if I mess up here I mess up big. Elder Roza and I finished out with 9 baptisms, the best transfer of my mission yet we worked almost less than half the time due to the fact that he was a secretary. But now Elder R. Ferreira and I will work all day. We have almost two times as much time to work. Our ward is expecting even more out of us. This area has one of the best bishoprics in the state, so nothing less is expected out of us. So a lot is riding on if I can get us going good at the start of the transfer.

I am for sure doing much better with the language but there is always room for improvement. I just can’t write like I want to. I can read and understand pretty much everything. I can understand almost everything someone says. I can speak but there are still some words and actions I don’t know, plus I can barely write.

This past Sunday... ie... yesterday, we baptized 4 people. Danilo (14), Nicailli (13), Hiani (11), Andrezza (9). I baptized the two younger girls. They were references from the family we baptized! We are actually heading there right after we email. I want to take my new companion there in the light so we don’t get robbed of something!

I forgot to mention this past Sunday we had a regional conference with a broadcast from Salt Lake! Here in Fortaleza we had two new Stakes made and a number of new Wards created. Second most stakes in Brasil at like 16. Second only to São Paulo... with like... 40 or 50 or something. haha. Just a little difference…

So I will be spending Christmas and New Years here in Nova Aldeota. A very different experience but it will be good! Christmas here, at least here in Ceará is... very different. No cold, very few lights, tiny trees, and seems like very little Christmas music. Fortunately, we have a surplus in our apartment everyday!!! haha yes we wake up with it, we go to sleep with it!

Speaking of no cold… It is very humid here today because it has been raining a bit throughout the day... which always makes it worse.

I am glad Logan finished a letter!!!  Which means it is almost time for him to start another one!!! like one every week... punk... haha just kiddin. One from you every week Logan would be nice, really nice.

I am slowly drawing close to 9 months which is rather strange! I feel like I was just sitting there getting my call, then just sitting in the CTM. Everything has just gone by so fast. It is weird to think about. There are a ton of missionaries leaving at the end of this transfer. I don’t know what we are going to do. The church needs to send us about 20 to fill the gap. It will be interesting. 

The package hasn’t arrived yet. But there is still hope, maybe. Haha. I don’t really know! haha. I think I will send some pictures home next week. 
Well, I love you all and wish you all a fantastic week!!! I am looking forward to your letter Logan!!!! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

I am currently watching the Christmas Devotional, because we might see it in Português this next Sunday, but it really just isn’t the same! So I will just watch it now!

Well, it has been a frustrating week... well, more like disappointing. We spent hours working with a young 14 year old boy just to have it all basically thrown back at us. We spent so much time with him. He said right to us that he had received an answer from God... but he said he doesn’t want to do anything about it. He was interviewed by one of the mission’s best missionaries. He was interviewed by one of the Assistants. We did everything imaginable, but he literally wants to throw his answer away. It was rather difficult.

We do have 4 baptisms planned for this week so we are planning to work our tails off this week to make them happen.

Let’s see one major accomplishment this past week. Our secretary received a phone call from São Paulo saying we needed to get all our baptism records entered. We had over 100 to do, so he entered as many as he could but then, being the secretary, had to do other things. So he asked me to enter the records. So starting at 4 I entered fichas as fast as I could. I finished all the fichas we had for the week at 6:30. I felt accomplished. In joking, yet with some seriousness, he asked if I would like to be a secretary. I don’t know if anything will every come of it in my mission, but I remember thinking in the CTM that I would enjoy being the secretary at some point. So who knows what may come of it!

Elder Roza and I were asked the other day if we were from Rio. As you may or may not know there has been an actual war going on in Rio, the drug lords against the government.
Apparently the drug lords have been running to other cities and stuff. This man asked if we were or at least worked for the drug lords!? He asked us if we would sell him some guns. It was rather odd. The other Elders were asked the other day, or something was said about how we are spies. There are some very odd things that are said about us.

Let me tell ya. There are some crazy things that happen here. The other Elders had a baptism this past Saturday, but the guy getting baptized was late.  When he arrived he apologized and explained that he had to wait even longer than normal for the bus because the bus he was waiting to use so he could be on time, didn’t stop because it was being assaulted. Basically they robbed the bus!!! I know that’s most likely one of those things you don’t tell your mother, but it is what happens sometimes.

We had a zone P-Day today. I just watched movies because I can’t play soccer. I want to, but my knees are more important to me!  I want to be able to use them after my mission. My mission has already taken a big enough toll on them so I am just guarding them. Today we watched the Best Two Years, UP, and that movie about the boy who’s an inventor and goes to the future and is chased by the T-Rex. I can’t remember the name…

We should be having a P-Day at the beach or something coming up soon so that should be fun!!!

It is rather odd being so near to Christmas because it really does not feel like it here. It is strange to see palm trees wrapped with lights, to sweat during December and to see tiny Christmas trees in all the houses. It is just very different, obviously. Haha

I am still having troubles sleeping. Last night was the second worse night of my mission. I woke up at 4:15 and fell back asleep at 4:30. Then I woke up again at 5:00 and haven’t slept since. I just lay there in bed and wait for the sun to come up then I sit and read whatever I placed near my bed the night before. I just plan for it now and keep either my English or Português scriptures nearby!
Logan... you better either start writing letters, sending emails, using mission ties, or something. Seriously...

This is a very good talk by President Eyring. I like it a lot!

This week I have felt I have ever so much to learn about everything. There are those who know much, much more than I. I have a lot to study, a lot to learn, a lot to practice and improve, but eventually I will figure it all out. Learn what I desire. Someday…

Well, my time is about up. I love you all dearly and wish you all the best of weeks. Until next week… Love you all!!! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Well, I got the mission ties letter from Grandma and Grandpa, the one that was really long. But that is it. I am just waiting for everything else. I get to check every day, though, because I am in the office Tuesday through Friday. Which reminds me, the other day both the secretaries were out of the office and a doctor from the United States called.  I just don’t answer the phone and let my companion answer it, but he tried speaking to the doctor in English but he said he was speaking too fast so I had to take the call, which was really, really weird.

Well, right now it’s getting hotter and hotter. A little cold would be nice. Let’s see, the pump in our font here isn’t working so to clean the “swamp” out we did it all by bucket. Let me tell you, if I have to do it again I won’t. Well, that isn’t really true.  I would do it again for a baptism!  With the permission of Sister Batt we took most of yesterday to rest, due to the fact that Elder Roza and I both tweaked stuff while cleaning, him in his back and me in my hamstring and lower back. I have never sweat so much in my life. For the first time in my life it was literally dripping off my face. And nothing like doing a division with one of the Assistants to have one of our investigators interviewed for baptism... I looked and smelled great... not....

So here in Brazil, you cannot be married by anyone other than the government. So you go to an office and pay at least 20 reais upfront just to get dates to be married. Then you come back with the actual people and they sign some papers. And then you come back a third time and get married in the office and pay the rest of the money, about a total of 120 reais. Really it is ridiculous. It is the reason why more people here just live together than get married, because it is too expensive and too time consuming. As missionaries we get a little bit of a discount because we marry people so much. And we take care of all the other pieces.

A number of people here have Christmas trees, all are fake, obviously, and very tiny. The other day a sister asked if we had Christmas trees in the United States.... I wasn’t exactly sure what to say... haha.  Some people have Christmas lights, but they are way too expensive, so really only the rich have them.

I have no idea how calling on Christmas works. I know I will get to but how and when, I have no idea. I think how it works is I call the day before to let you all know when and stuff... but I really have no idea. 

I decided that after my mission I may want to learn some other languages, but, we will see how this first one goes. haha.

So, have you all seen the new Harry Potter? I am very jealous because I will maybe watch it on a very, very bad television. haha. Just have to wait for it to come out on DVD!!! haha. Depends if President Batt allows it. We will just wait to see!!!

And nice work with the signing your letter with “mom” in Português!!! I don’t even know where you find the little symbol that goes over the a. Here all keyboards are Português so it has all of the accents and stuff.

Well, my time is up!!! I love you all!!! Until next week!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

November 15, 2010

Oh, my gosh!!!!!! I am so excited!!!!!! Brenna and Spencer got their visas!!!!! I am so excited right now!!!! You have no idea!!!! Americans are just not coming. They are like the very, very last Americans to get their visas!!! You have no idea!!!!

I have not received your package yet. It takes anywhere from 1.5 to 2 months, if not more for them to arrive! Trust me you can not stay ahead of the game if it depends on the function of the mail system here!!! Haha. I always have a microwave, but I have been making popcorn on the stove!!! haha.

So this week has been a very interesting week!!! I "married" my first couple, baptized my first family, and had more baptisms in a week then ever before in my mission. This family is amazing!!! Next week I plan to email pictures and video from the week home! They are about the best family that could have ever been found!!!

This past week I have felt I have been having a cultural battle with my companion. He is not fond of Americans, or so he has made it appear. We had a ward meeting the other day where it basically turned into a giant yelling match about an idea that had been proposed. And, when we left I commented on it. The wards have some issues with reverence, and I commented on it. Another sister that has lived in the United States with her family commented on how the wards in Brasil are not reverent. On our walk back home one night he recounted this to me. He has a problem with Brasil being compared to the United States. The problem is the comment came from a sister that has lived in both countries, and many different wards in Brasil. So... based off of my opinion, she has more than one ward, more than one experience to make this judgment. We have a couple wards here that have, in fact, lost baptisms because they were too irreverent.  For that to be an excuse... that says a lot compared to the thousands of shouting rock band churches that are here. It is an issue. Anything I or anyone else comments on about not being correct, he becomes angry and says we can not compare here to there... The gospel is the same everywhere... so is how the church functions... but it is impossible to tell him this. This week has been a week full of what feels like a cultural clash. But that is what happens.

Well, in less than three days, I will arrive at 8 months. It is a rather weird thought and feeling. We watched The Best Two Years today and it was very, very different to watch considering I, more or less, are having the same experiences! haha. It was an interesting point of view.

Well, my time has almost expired! Until next week! Love you all!