Soo...as you could perhaps tell by the rather lengthy subject...We baptized 3 people this week!! Its been a crazy week, and somehow in the end, everything worked out as we wanted it to work out! We have seen SO MANY blessings this week, that Im honestly a bit overwhelmed by how many things went right. AND, to add to it, we also successfully reactivated a person this week. Here are the details!!
Lilian, Ryan- My goodness, this family was elect. We taught them the commandments this week, and they accepted very easily all of the commandments. To our surprise, Lilian has already started going deeper into gospel knowledge. Lilian has started listening to every single conference talk, ever since the church was organized almost 200 years ago. She downloads a few talks, and listens to them while shes working. They were interviewed on Friday, passed, and on Saturday, they were baptized. Elder Marciano baptized Lilian, and I baptized Ryan (who always jokes that my accent makes me sound like Im from Portugal, which is as far from the truth as can be, but its cool, we're friends.) 2 baptisms!!
Daniela- FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY!!! WE FINALLY BAPTIZED DANIELA!! Daniela was avoiding us a bit at the beginning of the week, but we went to visit her on Thursday, and we firmly stated that her baptism would be on Saturday, and that João Vitor wouldnt be able to baptize, since he wasnt ordained. We explained that the ordinance of baptism is much more important than who baptizes (as long as the person has Priesthood authority to do so), and that the only thing that a lot of things will go wrong before the baptism, but that the only thing that will be perfect is her right after the baptism. And oh, how everything went wrong. She had to show up late, and the Bishop (her 2nd choice) couldnt baptise her because he couldnt make it later in the day. Her Mom showed up late, so we had to wait to do the service separate from the service we had for Lilian and Ryan (we wanted to baptize the 3 of them at the same time.) And all of the youth were getting rowdy, so it was hard to control. So, we convinced her to let Elder Marques baptize her (he also taught her a lot during divisions, so we were good with this). When her Mom came, the mom was complaining that she needed to leave quickly, so make the baptismal service as fast as possible. So, we tried. And it was going so, so slow, because of the length of the hymns, youth not being quiet, etc. But, everything changed when Elder Marques and Daniela entered in the water. Everybody got quiet, and it suddenly became an incredibly spiritual experience. The mom stopped talking about how she needed to leave. Afterwards, everything was great. The Young Womens president gave a touching welcome talk, and all of the youth, including Daniela, began to cry. It was, all in all, a very spiritual experience. And, in this process, we managed to finally get Daniela's brother, João Paulo, to come back to church. Ever since we had started to talk to Daniela, he had always avoided us. But, he also cried during the baptismal service. And that Sunday was fast and testimony meeting, and João Paulo gave his testimony, apologizing for having gone inactive, and stating that he really does know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ. What an experience this was.
(And, fun fact: During these crazy days of getting 3 people ready for baptism, I was sick! When I send the pics of the baptisms, you can see, especially in Daniela's baptismal pic, that I was super sick. I didnt throw up. I think it was a migraine? A super duper duper strong headache that made me feel weak and sick everywhere else. I dunno. Ive never had a migraine before. But, I survived.)
(Other fun fact: When these 3 and Lucas were confirmed on Sunday, we realized something legit. From the baptisms these past 2 weeks, Elder Marciano and I managed to baptize someone for every organization: Quorum, Relief Society, Young Women, Young Men, and Primary. So that was cool.)
Stephanie (new!)- Our baptism for this week, that fell from heaven. Shes a family member of the bishop, already has a testimony, and wants to be baptized. Its just a matter of getting her mom to give permission, and then baptizing her. Pray for Stephanie!!
I got two packages from my Mom, who loves me more than anybody else! Thank you, Mom!!
And, Christmas is coming!! During this time of the year, let us remember the true meaning of Christmas. Go tochristmas.mormon.org and watch a super cool 3 minute video about Christmas. Its for free! Watch it!!
Alright, well Im gonna go now! Ill send pics of the 5 baptisms from the past 2 weeks! Love you all!!
So, its been a great week for me! Weve been working our butts off, and it FINALLY payed off! Why? Because...WE GOT 2 MORE BAPTISMS!! Frick yeah! Ill tell the deets about how Ruan and Lucas were finally baptized! Here are the deets:
Ruan- A very calm baptism. Unfortunately, Veronica wasnt able to make it to the baptism because she had last minute visits from 10 different family members at the same time, but she sent his dad to acompany him to the baptism, which I really think helped his dad like the church more. I got to baptize Ruan, and he was confirmed on Sunday. Yay!!!!
Lucas- Also, a very calm baptism. We were only able to visit him on Wednesday, which is when he explained that he wasnt able to make it to church last week because he had to leave unexpectedly, and he left his cell phone at home. So, we asked, "So...do you wanna be baptized this Sunday?" "Sure." "Cool." And, he was! Elder Marciano baptized him, and he will be confirmed next Sunday. Yay!!!
Daniela- She was the one that got away this week. A super complicated situation. Basically, she was gonna get baptized on Saturday night after a youth activity (which was her decision, and it would have been cool), but unfortunately, her stepdad brought her to there, and he got SUPER grumpy with us at the end. "NO! I dont want to stay here to watch a baptism! I havent eaten in hours, Im STARVING!!" "Well, the baptismal service would be only 15 minutes." "Not a chance!! Thats way too much time! Daniela, we're going!!" And so she had to leave. And she was sick on Sunday, so that didnt work out. BUT we'll try to baptize her this week! Please pray for her that she can finally be baptized!!
Lilian, Ryan (new!!)- Friends of Yara that have been coming to church for a couple weeks now. We were avoiding teaching her for a bit because we knew that Yara would try and slow things down, so we waited for the perfect opportunity, and...it worked!! Lilian and Ryan will be baptized this weekend! Yay!!
December has started!! So...that means that Christmas is coming!! Yay for Christmas!!!
There really isnt too much to say today. Sorry, our normal LAN House was closed, so were at the crappy LAN House, and I wont be able to send the pics of the baptisms of Ruan and Lucas! But I will next week!
So, I remember about 6 months ago, I was looking at the calendar for the year, and I realized that I would be able to wish my mother a happy birthday ON her birthday, seeing that it would be on a Monday. For 6 months, I was excited for this moment...until I learned 3 weeks ago that Id be having a Tuesday P-Day on my mothers birthday. So...that was poorly timed. But ah well! Happy (belated) birthday Mom! I promise, I wont miss the next one! ;)
Well, its been a kinda rough week for us this week. We had plans to baptize 2 people, and it ended up being none. BUT I know that this week, we WILL baptize AT LEAST one person. Im starting to go a bit nuts without baptizing, but then I remember that Im in Brazil, where I am blessed to be able to baptize a ton of people, and that I shouldnt complain that Ive gone 6 weeks straight without baptizing. So, here are our top investigators:
Lucas- We taught him some more, and he accepted to be baptized on Sunday. Without a single problem. But, when Sunday showed up, Lucas didnt. We tried to call him, go and pick him up during church, and visit him after church, and he simply...disappeared. So, that was weird. We'll visit him this week, and probably baptize him this week.
Daniela- Also would have been baptized this week, but she wants her mom to be there, and her mom wasnt able to get the day off. We tried to tell her that we could make it later in the day so that her mom could see it, but then the whole family that is helping us teach her (and caused her baptism to be delayed by a month) went against us and said, "Just wait more time Elders! You dont understand!" So, we will baptize her this Saturday. Although, the funny thing, João Vitor wasnt ordained a priest, so he wont even be able to baptize her. We talked to Daniela, and the Bishop is gonna baptize her. So thatll be cool.
Juan- Passed the interview this week. Will be baptized on Saturday. End of story. He will be.
We went to the temple today!! I didnt bring my camera with me to the LAN House, but Ill send pics next week!
Alright, so this is a shorter letter because, as usual with P-Days when we go to the temple, Im a bit short of time. BUT I love you all, hope that youre all doing great, and that you all have a great week! Love you!
So, if I were to tell all of you that I had a calm, normal week of work, I do believe that I'd be lying. As it turns out, this week was the week for Elder Marciano and I to become guiney pigs for a new project that President Farnes has. During the transfers, President Farnes called 4 assistants (which is different, he normally only has 2 assistants), all of whom have a speical purpose to help out the mission. So, these 4 elders are going to different areas and doing divisions with the Zone Leaders, for the whole week. And, seeing as Elder Marciano and I were the only companionship of Zone Leaders that stayed the same this transfer (we're just that good), we were the guiney pigs for this. So, this week, I didnt even work with Elder Marciano, but I worked with Elder Farias and Elder Carney. Both of them actually started working in the field in Brazil at the same time as me, but I have a bit more time than Elder Farias (he wasnt in the CTM for 6 weeks), and Elder Carney was waiting for his visa for a time, so he has 6 more weeks on his mission than me. But, we all worked our buns off this week, and we now have some really good things going in our area! Here are the top stories!
Lucas: We were SO close to baptizing him this week. SO. SO. SO. SO. Close. He accepted all of the commandments without a doubt, and we interviewed him on Saturday morning, to be baptized on Sunday after Stake Conference. He passed, and Elder Farias said that it was an incredibly easy interview. He was COMPLETELY ready to be baptized. But, on Saturday at 9:30 PM, Lucas' dad called us and said, "Look, Lucas is 22 years old and can make his own decisions, but I had a good conversation with him and we decided that hes not ready to be baptized yet." We talked about the purpose of baptism being the first covenant that we make with God and how its not a giant decision if he wants to receive Gods blessings, but then we asked the Dad, "What do you think hes lacking to be baptized?" And the worst part was, he couldnt think of anything!!! "Uh, uh...I dont know, but hes just not ready quite yet." So, we marked to go to Stake Conference with Lucas on Sunday, and as we were going, we were talking to him. Although we were on a train, the Spirit was super strong as we were testifying to him of why he needed to be baptized. And we were at the point that Lucas would accept to be baptized on that day, but when we got to the chapel at Franco da Rocha (where the conference was held,)...we were informed that the water ran out at the church, and we wouldnt have enough water to baptize. So, we lost the battle, but not the war. He will be baptized, soon.
Matteus: The Bishop talked to him, and helped Matteus understand that he needs to be baptized, as soon as possible. We started talking to Matteus, and he accepted a date for the 22nd. We were SUPER excited, until Matteus' adoptive mother (who is a member) came in and literally started screaming at us about how Matteus isnt worth baptizing, how he wants nothing with anything, how we're idiots because we want to baptize him, etc. It got intense, and then she asked (in a very yell-ish voice), "Matteus, do you want to be baptized?" "Yes." "Why? WHY? WHY?!" And before he could answer, she said, "See? He doesnt even know! The other Elders understood that hes not ready,but YOU TWO just want to throw him in the water." We finally had to stop the lesson, just to remind Matteus that all of us (including the screamy mother) love him and that we want the best for him. But, we explained to his mom that this is a commandment of God, that not being baptized would be just as much condemnation as baptizing him and him going inactive afterwards, and that we were willing to answer before God for what we're doing, and she should be ready too. She backed down a bit after that, but this made Matteus have fear of baptism again. So, that was a giant punch in the face.
Gabriel: We wanted to baptize him this week, but we could never find him at home. However, in the process of never finding him at home, we found 3 of his friends (Alex, Guilherme, Daniel) and his brother (Jorge) and marked baptismal dates with all of them. So, that was cool.
Daniela: Seems firm to be baptized this week. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pray for her, that everything will go well, and with my other investigators as well!! We want to help these people get baptized, so that they can open the doors of the Atonement of Christ in their lives!!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Next week, Ill send emails on Tuesday, not Monday. And itll likely be Tuesday afternoon/night, because were going to the temple!!!! PLEASE REMEMBER THIS, EVERYBODY THAT WOULD BE CONCERNED IF I DONT SEND AN EMAIL ON MONDAY! I WILL WRITE NEXT TUESDAY!!!
Alright, I think thats it everybody!! I love all of you! Sorry that I dont have any super funny stories this week, but thanks for all of your support! Have a great week!!
Thats right, I already have the transfer calls, and...Im staying here with Elder Marciano! Actually, everybody in our house is staying the same, but weve also got a bunch of missionaries coming to our zone, shutting down one area and opening three. So, all in all, this could be a crazy 5 weeks. But, yeah, here are some things about our top investigators:
Lucas: Still perfect. He has accepted to live all of the commandments that weve taught him (we just have one more that he needs to know), and he is loving our visits. We have a goal to baptize him this weekend, and we really think that its possible. He even had a dream that his (recently deceased) mom was encouraging him to join the church, so that was awesome!! He is an incredible person, and Im excited to baptize him.
Daniela: Basically a member of the ward. Shes showing no problems right now, and is already integrated with the Young Women. Now, we wait until the freaking 23rd, just so that João Vitor can baptize here. But, Ill be here, so thats good.
Ronni: Still avoiding us. Punk.
Veronica, Ruan: FINALLY went to church this week, and they loved it. For the time being, theyre gonna start going every Sunday, and although Veronica cant be baptized yet because her husband doesnt wanna get married, were gonna try and get Ruan baptized.
Matteus: I know, you havent heard from him in a while. Hes been going to church every Sunday, but its been the same story with baptism, where hes not understanding a whole lot of why he needs to be baptized. But, the Bishop finally decided to talk to him, and as we know, the Bishop here does miracles, and so well see what happens.
Sorry that I dont have a voice recording again this week. This computer reads my camera, but for some dumb reason doesnt read my computer. So thats stupid, and I dont like it.
We had a homeless drunk lady come into church this week, after the meetings. We asked her if she needed anything, to which she said no. She then stood up, and thats when we realized that her pants and underwear were at her knees. She then sat down at another bench for 10 seconds, then left, letting every man, woman and child see her bare bottom. So that was weird.
But yeah, thats my week! Ill send some pics now! Love you all!
We all got shirts from a part of the São Paulo government. So we are wearing the shirts. And mustaches. One more transfer.
So, its been an alright week for me here in Jaraguá. Filled with ups, downs, in betweens, and a whole lot of craziness, it was a week that honestly freaking flew by. But, Ill give some deets here now. Top investigators!!
Gabriel- So, I talked to Elder Marciano about it, and we decided that Gabriel needs a little bit more time before he gets baptized, and for two reasons. Firstly, hes progressing really well and seems to be taking things in, step by step. And also, and much more importantly, he has an awesome friend named Alex that we can baptize at the same time, and the two can help each other stay firm. So, Gabriel is good, but we just want to work with him more and get a second baptism in the process. Well see what happens.
Ronni- The dirty pervert hid from us this week. We tried to get in touch with him every day, but he just hides from us. But, like a hunter with his prey, I will find him, shoot him, and then claim my dead animal prize. Or, Ill just find him and baptize him, because thats more Christlike. One of the two.
Lucas- Progressing SUPER well. He went to church alone this Sunday, arriving half an hour early. Hes reading and praying and doing everything that were asking him. So well see what happens with him. We just need to teach him the commandments, and then we'll have him ready to be baptized, hopefully soon!!
Evandro/Diani (new!)- A "married" couple that we found, that want our help. They want to get married, find a church, and help Evandro stop drinking. (Hes not an alcoholic; he just drinks every once in a while, and hes super weak with drinks. Like, he drank one can one night, and was blubbering.) So it shouldnt be too difficult with them. They werent able to make it to church this week, but well see what happens with them.
We had a super cool moment this week. Seeing that our zone didnt have any baptisms planned for the weekend, me and Elder Marciano decided to challenge the missionaries in our zone to try and visit the people that had been interviewed, passed, but just werent baptized. The zone did it, and the missionaries of Jaraguá 2 (Elder Marques, Elder Bustamante, who live with us) were able to baptize one of their investigators by a miracle this weekend! It was pretty awesome, and I took a picture with the woman as well. Ill send it here in a bit.
As the voice message (hopefully) will tell (if it is able to send, freaking LAN Houses here), me and Elder Jacobs went to a private school with a member this week, and talked to little kids about speaking English/being an American. It helped my deep-rooted patriotism grow (little kids thinking that I know famous people because Im American), and a lot of them ended up taking pictures with us! So that was quite a funny experience.
Alright, time to respond to individual emails and try and send some stuff! Hopefully it works! Love you all!
A view from the top of the Banespa, the tallest building in São Paulo.
And these two kids heard that I had never tried coconut water before, so they bought it. The cool thing was, the seller cuts the coconut open, and you drink from inside it. It was cool, and I took a pic with the two kids. And the coconut.
So, as the title reads, it was one of those weeks this week. At this point in my mission, I know that these types of weeks happen every once in a while (I cant JUST have miracles happen here, gosh!) But, weve still got some good things going for us!! Heres some basic information about our top investigators:
Daniela- We were ridiculously close to baptizing her this week. We had taken away all of her doubts and fears, and the last question was who would baptize her. She decided that she wanted her friend, João Vitor, to baptize her. The only problem is, João Vitor wont be able to baptize until he is 16 years old, which he doesnt become until the end of November. We worked hard with her during the lesson and finally had convinced her to let another member of the ward baptize her...until João Vitors brother, Matteus, entered into the freaking room and asked, "Wait, didnt you want Joao to baptize you?" "Yeah, but I think itd be better if this other person baptized me this weekend." "Wait...Elders, cant she wait a month longer? I dont think thatd be too bad." And she heard that, and it was over. So, us and the Bishop are gonna try and work with her to be baptized sooner (many times, when you wait a long time to baptize somebody, they end up not getting baptized at all here. Its a different culture, but its a much faster-moving culture.)
Ronni-Its gonna be luck with this guy. We did a family night with Ronni and a couple other people at the church on Monday about Family History, and in the middle of the lesson, Ronni starts asking us, "Elders, can I be baptized in a river? I heard from my neighbor that it says in the Bible that a true baptism has to be by running waters." We simply told him that, although Jesus was baptized in a river, we arent required to be baptized by running waters because there really isnt a purpose to it (you need to have the age of conscience to know what youre doing, waters to immerse you because this is literally what baptism means, and authority from God to make this covenant, but running waters dont serve a real purpose.) We said that he could be baptized in a river if he REALLY wanted to (All of the rivers here are trashy), but that we have this baptismal font for this reason. He then became SUPER angry with us, saying that we were condemning souls because of this, that well have to answer before God for this giant sin that were committing. So, we burned him a bit and then left, not knowing what to do. But, a few days later, we went back, and avoiding the subject of running waters, asked him if he was good with baptism. He said, "Yeah, Im super excited to be baptized this next weekend!" So, either we will baptize him, or he will burn the church down. I dunno.
Gabriel- Went to church for the second time. We didnt get to teach him this week, but hes actually progressing, so well see what happens.
Elias (new!)- An older man that we found this week. We were knocking on doors, and he saw us knocking and called us down to talk to him. We taught him, and he was incredibly interested. He went to church this week, and said that he wants to come every Sunday. We just need to get him married (he already talked about how he wanted to get married before baptized,) And then well get him baptized!!
We also brought a drunk couple to church this week. The woman had hurt her knee, and was trying to sit down, so we helped her, talked to them (or at least tried, they were very drunk,) and then brought them into church. So that was fun.
And I went to 25 de Março again! We went to the same Churrascaria, and I bought some ties, a fancy watch, and a new towel! So that was fun. Ill try to send pics here.
So, just to explain to you all, this letter will be a bit shorter today, seeing as Im going to be kinda busy this P-Day. Were going back to 25 de Março, the place where you buy artificially produced stuff for super cheap, so we want to leave early, and I want time to write to my fam (they come first ;)). But, this week went by. SO. FAST. We actually had 3 divisions in a row, which exhausted me. On Tuesday, I worked here with Elder Jacobs, for him to do an interview at the chapel that night. Unfortunately, Ronni didnt get there until 9:20, but I didnt want to waste time, so we interviewed him there, and we didnt get back until 10:15. On Wednesday, I went to Franco da Rocha with Elder Pfeifer, where we worked pretty darn hard for the lack of time that we had. And on Thursday, we had a division with the Assistents to President Farnes. I worked with an American, Elder Anderson, and we only worked until 6 PM because he had to be back at the mission office that night. But, needless to say, its been a very quick-moving week. And Im guessing that nobody is awake right now because, for some reason, Brazilian daylight saving time is the opposite of the united states. So, while you guys went back an hour, we moved forward. So while its 10:30 here, its only6:30 there. So youre all likely sleeping, so that kinda stinks.
Daniela- Finally went to church this week!!! And she has a date for this weekend. Well see what happens.
Ronni- Was interviewed this week, passed, accepted to be baptized on the 1st of November.
So yeah, Im really sorry that this letter is so short this week, but know that I love you all, and I owe you all a GIANT email next week! Have a great week! Tchau!!
So, its been quite a swell week here in Jaraguá with Elder Marciano. Weve had good stories, good experiences, and above all, a baptism this week! Heres the story, along with other things:
Antônia (baptism!)- This is Patrick's mom. For those of you that I didnt tell, Patrick is a convert of 4 years in the church. Hes incredibly active, and hes actually leaving to go on a mission in Recife this Wednesday. In the past 4 years, Patrick managed to baptise his brother Shaggy, but his parents, not being legally married, couldnt be baptized, seeing as they were breaking the Law of Chastity. I cannot express how many teaching records I have found for Patrick's parents. Dozens and dozens of missionaries have tried to get them married, only to arrive in vain. But, a miracle happened this week. We heard through the grapevine that Patricks parents were separating, although we didnt know why. But, when we heard it, we didnt waste a single moment. We went to their house on Thursday, and asked her what the situation was. Antônia was very calm and said, "Eh, it wasnt even a fight of a separation. We just decided that it wasnt right for us, and there was a wrong feeling about it." We brought the convo to baptism and asked, "So what is preventing you from being baptized?" "Now? Absolutely nothing." "Do you want Patrick to baptize you before he leaves for his mission?" "Yes. Patricks going away party is this Saturday. Lets do the baptism right afterwards." So, thats what we did. It was a beautiful and very emotional service for all of us. Looking back, we recognize that God wasnt necessarily focusing his blessings on us (although this was a giant blessing in my life,) but also on Patrick, who has practically given up the last 4 months of his life to help us missionaries 3 or 4 days a week, and basically the past 4 years to help this work go forward. It truly was a blessing to see Patrick baptize his own mom, 4 days before he leaves for 2 years.
Ronni- We had plans to baptize Ronni this week, but they were in vain. Until Wednesday, Ronni was good and comfortable, but from Thursday to now, hes been avoiding us. But, were gonna try to talk to him on Tuesday, see what happens.
Denise (new!)- I actually dont know her, but I helped find her. Between the conference sessions, I did a division with another American Elder that was listening to conference with me in English (Elder Jacobs), and we found a group of kids playing. Trying to do quick contacts, we invited the group of boys to visit the church. The next week, while I was on a division with another area, the mother of 2 of these boys came into the church while Elder Marciano was there, saying that the boys told her about the church, and she just wanted to know what time the services were. So, he gave her a tour of the church, which she was hesitant to accept at first, but then she accepted. And Elder Marciano said that she loved it, adn became emotional, particularly when she saw the baptismal font. She said that she believes that this is the right church for her and her family, so were gonna teach her, her 4 kids, and her mom tonight (shes recently divorced.) So pray for these people!!!
Im finally at a LAN House where I can send photos, so Im gonna try and send a few. If it works, Ill try to send more next week. But todays just a test, dont hold me to it.
To make my mom feel better, Im getting a bit fatter!! After being in this area for enough time (where EVERYBODY feeds you), Ive managed to gain 3 kilos (6-7 pounds). So well see what happens! My goal is to get strong and beautiful by the time I get home. Itll happen. Im already beautiful, so I just need to get strong.
Alright, thats it for me! Have a great week! Love you!
So, as my last email to you all stated, I am still here in Jaraguá. We got the transfer call, and Elder Berrios went to Itú, which is pretty far away in the country. I am now here with Elder Marciano, from Rio de Janeiro. He was actually the Elder that trained Elder Ashford, my MTC companion. So, weve been working pretty well together, and we have a ton of prospects for the future! Here we go:
Luan: Weve set a new goal for Luan. Actually, he set it for himself. Luan recently fell back on his old habit of smoking, so weve set a goal for him to stop smoking for 15 days. When he is able to do it, he will recognize that its time to be baptized. So, so far, were 4 days in or so. Our goal is for the 18th.
Ronni- Ronni tried to be kinda nasty with us this week and tell us that were just taking advantage of him and trying to baptize him to get more people into the church, and that hes an adult and should be able to decide for himself what he wants. We agreed wholeheartedly that this is his decision, but then we told him that its his decision that will decide his salvation. Our salvation doesnt depend on his, but we are simply helping him because we want to help people. We then told him that, by giving up 9 days before his baptismal date, that he is telling God that God shouldnt help him, that he doesnt want Gods help. We then told him that Jesus Christ will never give up on him, but that he needed to do his part. But, we have Ronni back! Hes still going strong to be baptized, hopefully this weekend!!
Veronica- Doing super good. Still not married, but we marked to help her be baptized in a long time, November 29. Perhaps I wont even be here for that, but its alright.
Patrick's mom (new!)- Patrick is a kid who has been working a ton with us. Hes a recent convert of 3 years or so, and hes actually leaving in two weeks to serve a mission in Recife, Brazil. His mom, although she goes to church every week, is not baptized because shes not married. Missionaries have been trying to help her for years, with no success. But, we just learned yesterday that she is separating from her husband, but she is staying here. So, theres a chance that we could have a miracle baptism happen before Patrick leaves for his mission!! Please pray for my investigators!!
Today, before coming here, I went to a place called the Pico de Jaraguá (Jaraguá's Peak). Its the highest point in São Paulo, and it has a beautiful (albeit polluted) view of the city. It was a pretty long hike, but we made it there! Ill send pics when I can!!
We also got to watch General Conference this weekend (thus the subject of this email). It was absolutely lovely to hear the words of a living prophet and apostles of the Lord!! If any of you wish to hear what prophets and apostles have to say to us (hint: you want to), go to lds.org and watch it.
So, as I write this, we are again waiting for our transfer calls. It seems (to me) that every transfer passes by faster and faster. So, as per usual, we await the call from the Assistants to tell us who is going, who is staying, and who is coming. So, there really isnt a whole lot to say this week. Weve basically been prepping the area for the next transfer, depending on who stays, who goes, etc. Our idea is likely that Elder Berrios will go (hes been here 6 months), Ill probably stay (Ive only been here a bit more than a month), and aside from that, we have no idea. But, here are our top investigators:
Ronni (new!): Hes an ex investigator who is back in the picture. A long time ago, he was almost baptized, but then decided at the last minute that he didnt want to. However, he always is at the church hanging out with his friends (hes 25ish), and we finally decided to talk to him again. With the help of a member of our Bishopric, Ronni accepted to be baptized on the11th of October!! WEve just gotta help him feel more ready for baptism this time, but I think itll all go well.
Luan: Well, we tried to warn him against breaking the Law of Chastity, but he didnt want to listen. And, it seems like he is now realizing that he should have listened sooner, seeing as now hes going to be a daddy! Hes actually been a lot more receptive ever since he realized that his girlfriend was pregnant, and were just trying to help him make the right choices, because hes wanting to have dumb reactions. For example, he finally decided to get his first tattoo that day. On his neck. And the worst part is, it has a spelling error. He wanted to say "Tudo muda", which means "everything changes", but it ended up reading "Tudo mudar", which means "everything to change" or "everything change". So, were helping him out.
Divina and Tainá are doing great. Tainá went to the temple for the first time this weekend, which is awesome, and Divina not only went to church again this week, but she was at the church with other people during the week! Its awesome to see how everything good is happening in that family.
Also, our mission has been having a competition (per zone) to see who could get the highest number of a few types of things (People with baptismal dates at church, people that visited church, and lessons that we teach with a member of the church present.) Weve been competing all month, and somehow, our zone won! So, while the details arent that important, what is important is that we are all gonna be going to President Farnes' house tonight to eat pizza with him and his family.
Well, if Im still on when I learn about transfers, Ill write a second email. If not, youll know next week! Tchau!!
So, as the subject reads, its been a CRAZY week, especially this weekend. I know that I normally have the same format for my emails (how my investigators are doing, other notes, etc.), but this week, Id like to do something a bit different, which is basically just to explain this ridiculous weekend. Just know that, aside from this, there wasnt a whole lot of progress with my investigators. But here we go.
So, the whole week was planned around getting Debora and Leandro married, and subsequently baptized. We were visiting them almost every day, and things were going incredibly smoothly. We just lost a bit of progress on the way. While we tried to visit our other top investigators at the same time (Luan, Tainá, Matteus), we werent able to get ahold of them during our very short time working close to them. But, on Thursday night, Debora and Leandro were interviewed, passed, and they told us that they were ready for baptism. We had to continue getting everything together, including getting some members at the church to watch the wedding (a lot of people in the ward, not realizing that they had been going to church for 3 months straight and just missed 2 Sundays recently, said, "Well, how can we support people that we dont know?") But, by the end of Friday night, everything was going well. We had members helping us, and it was all good. Leandros family was coming to the wedding, but Deboras family wasnt able to make it.
Then Saturday morning comes. Our lunch was with a woman, Maria Rosa, who, with a heart of gold, loves to talk. A lot. Shes been coming back to church recently, and she loves the missionaries gets angry when we go there and dont spend a lot of time there, so we went to her house on Wednesday night to explain that we would be eating quickly on Saturday, but giving her some of our time on Wednesday to make up for it. But on Saturday, she seemed to forget that we had a wedding at 2:00. So she talked. Until 1:30. We ended up having to RUN to get to the wedding in time, and although we showed up late, when we got there, Leandro was talking to the Bishop and Debora was still getting ready. Leandro came out and talked to us, saying that he didnt want to get baptized today. We asked him why, and he gave the excuse that he simply wasnt feeling like he wanted to that day. Hed still get married, but he wouldnt get baptized, but perhaps Debora still wanted to get baptized. But, we werent able to talk to Debora before the wedding started, so we watched the whole wedding, incredibly nervous. The wedding was simple but nice, and the happy couple seemed to like it. There was cake, coke, and salty snacks, so we were all pretty happy. But, Elder Berrios and I found the right time when people stopped congratulating the bride, to ask her if she was ready to switch into baptismal clothes. Incredibly casually, Debora told us, "No. Me and Leandro are moving today to a different town. We dont have time to get baptized." This was a giant surprise, since they had told us that they werent moving until the end of the month. "Well, the baptism is just 20 minutes, it wont take too much time." "No, I dont want to get baptized today." She then stopped talking to us. She honestly wouldnt have told us this if we hadnt have asked Honestly being a bit enraged, we both left the room and went to cool off. It was one of the lowest and worst feelings that Ive had on my mission. Speechless, we watched as Debora and Leandro, 2 people that Ive been working with for over a month and the missionaries have been working with for 3 months, left the chapel, with a free wedding, not even making eye contact with us as they left. Luckily, we got their new address, so well send the missionaries over there, but it was honestly a horrible feeling, almost as though we were taken advantage of and abandoned.
Me and Elder Berrios stayed at the chapel for a bit, as he had to play piano for a baptism of a child in the ward. While we were waiting, I did a prayer and simply recognized that this isnt my work, but the Lords, and the idea came to my head that this weekend wasnt over yet, but I didnt know how. Then we talked to the Bishop as the ward was preparing for a ward dance. Somehow, the subject came to how we were feeling. The Bishop then said, "So how are the other investigators? Hows Tainá?" We told him about how she wanted to go to the temple on the 27th, but that her Dad still hasnt let her be baptized (as he hasnt let her do for 3 years.) The Bishop then said, "You know, Tainá is here right now helping prepare for the dance. Why dont you guys go talk to her? Just give it a try, you never know what will happen." We went and talked to Tainá, and asked her if she had talked to her dad recently. She said that she asked him recently, and that he had started to seriously consider it. At that moment, Elder Berrios and I didnt waste any time, seeing a last opportunity. We called an Elder to come and do an interview for her at the church, which he did and she passed. We gave her the baptismal form and said, "You are going to call your Dad TODAY, and tell him that you want to be baptized tomorrow. Its going to happen." But, we went home, and prayed incredibly hard that we could see this miracle happen.
The next day, we went to church, and incredibly nervous, we called Tainá to see what happened. And...her dad finally approved. After 3 years of hard work, her dad finally let her be baptized!! We got incredibly excited. The Bishop, who has been pushing for this for a long time, decided that he wanted her to get confirmed during that sacrament meeting, so we ended up doing the baptism during the Sunday School class before sacrament meeting (the Bishop ordered it, so we followed.) It was such an incredibly rewarding experience. And, to top it all off, Divina, her grandmother who weve been trying to get back to church, finally came in for the first time in a long time to see the service!! Tainá was baptized, confirmed, and shes going to enter the temple this weekend. Without a doubt, I was able to see the glorious hand of God in our lives this week as we came to understand that, through simple things (faith, obedience and diligence) that we were able to see a giant miracle happen. It was phenomenal. God is good.
So yeah, with that, while it was an incredibly rewarding weekend, it was also emotionally exhausting. It was like being on one of those roller coasters that you only go on because the line is short, and then you see that its short because, while fun, it also whips you around a lot and you feel exhausted afterwards. So Im going to have a very relaxing P-Day.
Alright, thanks all for your support! On to individual emails! Love you!!
So its been a pretty good week for us here in Jaraguá. We unfortunately didnt have any baptisms (more on that later) but weve got some good things going for us, and I continue with the hope that were gonna have success super soon! Here is some of the information of our area:
Matteus: So, he wasnt baptized this week. We visited him on Monday, and he was acting super different and said that hes not ready to be baptized. We tried everything, but he wouldnt budge on the fact that he didnt want to this week. We ended up talking to his adoptive dad, and it seems like theyve been fighting about stuff recently. We gave them some space this week, and were gonna try to visit him this week.
Tainá: Basically shes ready to be baptized in whatever moment. The last thing that we need to get is her dads signature. Her grandma, Divina (who is the funniest old lady in the world, and yes Mom, she takes super duper good care of us missionaries) told us that shed "put a hit in his face and get the signature" or that she wouldnt let him back in the hosue. So well see what happens.
Luan: Still the same. Were still working with him :P
Debora, Leandro: Our bright spot for the week. Weve been helping them get ready for their marriage (this Saturday!) but theyve been skipping church the past few weeks. We called them on Sunday morning to confirm that they were coming, and Leandro said that Debora had a fight with her family about the marriage, and she didnt feel like going to church today. After this rough week that we had been having, we went over to their house to talk to them. We talked a lot about how, even if her parents arent happy with her decision to follow God and get married, that God is incredibly happy with her, and that she doesnt have to feel alone in this, that there are a ton of people ready to comfort her at church. They still said that they wouldnt go to church on Sunday, but we told them that, if they felt like they really wanted help, that church was until noon. We got back, super upset that they didnt come with us to church...when 20 minutes later, they show up!! Its an uphill fight to get these two married and baptized, but we know that its possible! Please pray for my investigators!!!
The zoo was freaking awesome last week. I took a ton of pics (sorry, these computers are sketch so Im afraid to put my pictures into here), but it was a super nice day. Today, were going to a place called 25 de Março, basically a street where they sell a bunch of super duper cheap stuff. So its gonna be a fun P-Day!!
Sorry that this letter is a bit short, but were a bit short on time. We had a service project today that we were promised would be 5 minutes of our P-Day, but we all know how service projects go. But, its all okay! Im happy! Have a great week everybody! Love you all!!!!!
So, as the title suggests, this week has been ridiculously busy for us. Weve basically been to the opposite sides of our mission, having some sort of situation every day. Ill explain this weeks adventures, then our investigators, then other things:
Monday- Normal work day, but we were exhausted because we didnt have our normal P-Day.
Tuesday-We went to the temple, which isnt even in our mission.
Wednesday-It would have been a normal work day, but Elder Berrios got super sick. Basically, he has this thing where he cant eat fast, but that day, he forgot about it and started eating fast. And then 1 hour later, he was in our bathroom, letting everything out. I wont give you any more details, but we stayed home that day.
Thursday-We had a meeting with mission leadership in Sorocaba, the city where I was for 6 months (Júlio de Mesquita).
Friday-We went to a different area/city right outside of São Paulo (called Franco da Rocha) to do a baptismal interview.
Saturday-We returned to Franco da Rocha to do yet another baptismal interview.
Sunday-We went to a different area (called Perus) by request of the Stake President, to talk to less actives in preparation for their ward conference.
So its been nuts. Due to this extreme lack of time to work, we unfortunately werent able to get anyone baptized. But, we still have people that are ALMOST ready. Here they are:
Matteus: Hes completely ready to be baptized. He knows the stuff, he believes, and he wants to be baptized. We just have to help the parents out. His father doesnt want him to be baptized until November (for his birthday, but a LOT of things can happen in 2 months) and his mom is an incredibly busy woman, so weve gotta work around her schedule. I miss the days when I focused on the spiritual preparation of people. But we have his date marked for this Friday, if everything goes right.
Luan: He was supposed to be baptized this Sunday, but he has been panicking, in particular about the Law of Chastity. In his (very, very blunt words): "Look, I have a strong desire to be baptized. I really, really want to be baptized. But I also really, really want to have sex. I feel bad, but I dont feel repentant!" "So why dont you marry the girl?" "I dont want to marry her! I dont love her!" So weve gotta help him.
Nicolas: He was all ready to be baptized this Sunday with his friend Jaqueline (who would be part of another ward) but Jaqueline freaked out at the last minute and didnt want anything, and Nicolas has been in hiding since then. Well see what happens.
Debora, Leandro: Leandro finally openly said that he wants to be baptized with his wife. Theyre happy, and excited for the wedding on the 20th. I am also excited for them.
We have some other investigators, but those are the most important in this very short week. Other notes:
-Im going to the zoo today! Actually, after we write these emails, were gonna head over and do whats called a Safari at the São Paulo Zoo. Ill send photos when Im at a less sketchy LAN House that wont try to get rid of all of my photos on my camera. So well see what happens.
-The meeting I had with Elder Aidukaitis 2 weeks ago was super good. He talked about a lot of things to us, but here are some of the ones that I remember the most:
-When you get married, find somebody that loves God more than you. If he/she loves you more than God, theyre not very intelligent.
-Planning is a necessary part of our lives. Everybody, including God, has success only through making plans and fulfilling them to the best extent possible.
-God is happy with the obedient, but that doesnt mean that He is satisfied with our work. He always wants us to be doing more, and working harder than we think that we can work.
Alright, so thats been my week! On to individual emails! Love all of you!
Hi All....Michael wanted me to convey his apologies for not writing a regular weekly letter, but he had spent the day at the temple and they didn't have much time at the LAN house for emailing. He has asked me to send a few of the highlights from the letter he wrote to me (because he knows that no matter what lack of time he has, he'd better write to his old mom!!)
Its been a super busy week. Ill give more details next week (again, a lack of time is at hand here), but we had 2 different meetings with Elder Aidukaitis (he spoke at the last conference, with a funny accent and said, "One shouldnt roam in garbage."). He was kinda burning the fact that nobody is using their time super wisely, but it was still a super good 2 days, and I learned a lot. And, he has a funny accent in Portuguese too. As Tiffany has experienced, I am just a little bit sick this week. Basically, the weather keeps on switching between blazing hot and freezing cold, so my throat is starting to hurt. But its alright.
Well, we didnt have any baptisms this week, but we have at least 2 people planned for this week (one of which is super duper firm), so keep on praying for me! I like my new companion a lot. We're getting along well. He's super obedient, which is good, albeit at times tiring because he also likes to walk a lot. But, Im keeping up and doing good. And he's funny, and he loves to speak English, so Im happy with my life :) He was born in Honduras, lived in Belize, but then lived for most of his life in NYC and North Carolina.
Being a Zone Leader is basically the same thing as District Leader, but President Farnes trusts in me more. I have more responsibility, and he even talked to me specifically about what my job here is. He said that Jaragua was the highest baptizing zone a couple years ago, and for some reason its gone to crap. And now its my job to repair and turn it into a monster again. So, he trusts me, so thats cool.
Sorry that I havent sent pictures lately! The LAN Houses in this area are trashy, and Ive heard rumors that these computers have erased memory cards, so Im honestly afraid to send pictures while Im here!
Something that we learned this week from the visiting General Authority... If we dont establish specific goals, asking God to help us with these goals, we should have nothing to be sad about because we didnt have any expectations ruined. So make a goal, and decide what youre going to do to achieve that goal.
So, I sent you all a preliminary thing, but yes, after only 6 weeks in Amador Bueno, I have been transferred again! My new area is called Jaraguá, in the zone Jaraguá! Its a part of São Paulo, so Im back in the gigantic city again, just like where I started in Vila Medeiros. So, Ill give details about my new comp, new area, and new leadership position in a bit, but first, for my top investigators (All new, and there are a lot):
Matteus: Hes a 15 year old adopted son of a less active member thats been slowly coming back to church. He has a baptismal date for this weekend. We dont see any major problems in the road (perhaps his dad will think that its too early, but I dont think itll be a problem), so we should have at least 1 baptism this Saturday!
Mário: Hes a middle aged ex-investigator that we found this week. In the past he had progressed a lot with the missionaries, and almost was baptized, but he wasnt ready to live the commandments. But, we talked to him, and we marked a date for him to be baptized this Saturday! We just have to help him give up his drinking (its not an addiction, just something that he does every once in a while), and then we'll baptize him!
Luan: He was a security guard working at the chapel for a long time, and while he was there, he was taught literally everything. I was actually confused as to why hes not baptized yet. But, we can only find him on Sundays, which is more difficult. So, we got him interviewed for baptism, and he passed. He wants to talk to his mom to see if she supports him in this baptism, and then he should be baptized this Sunday!
Nicolas, Jackeline: Technically, Jackeline lives in another area, but we and the other missionaries are teaching them together, because theyre friends. Nicolas already had been taught everything, but wasnt able to go to church recently. But he finally decided to go to church! It was super cool, and his friend, Jackeline, also accepted a baptismal date with him, for the 6th! So, we have 2 different sets of missionaries working with them at the same time, but its cool, since they go to the same church building.
Debora, Leandro: Theyve been investigators for a long time, and it seems like Ive come in at the perfect time. After a long time, they decided to mark a marriage date so that Debora could get baptized (theyre both not members.) And, Leandro in the past had been wishy-washy about being baptized. So, they have a wedding date marked for the 20th. (Were gonna have a wedding!!!) And, when I went there last week, Leandro said that he stopped drinking coffee! So, were convinced that we can help Leandro get baptized with Debora on the day of their wedding. Yay weddings!
My new companion is Elder Berrios, from New York. Hes Hispanic-American, has 1 year and 4 months on the mission, and were working super well together. And hes a genius with languages. Like, he speaks Spanish, English, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Hes like a human American Melting Pot. And, we seem to get along well, so Im super excited for this transfer!
And, I have a new leadership position! I am now a Zone Leader, which basically is one step above District Leader, which I was last transfer. Basically its the same thing that i was doing last transfer (baptismal interviews, trainings, help a group of missionaries be proactive), but instead of supervising a few areas, I supervise 2 districts, helping the District Leaders out. So, its basically the same song, different verse, but its fun anyways.
Also, just for you to know, I wasnt the only one who moved up. Elder Baron, my old companion, stayed in Amador Bueno, and he is now District Leader and hes training a new missionary. So were happy with our lives.
And, I get to meet a Seventy this week! Elder Aidukaitis, that Seventy with the funny accent that spoke at last General Conference, is coming to tour our mission this week. Ill get to hear him on Tuesday (at a leadership conference) and on Thursday (for our zone and a few other zones). So thats cool!
Alright, thats my week! On to individual emails! Sorry, this computer doesnt have USB, so I cant send any pictures this week, but Ill send some when I can! Love you all! Have a great week!