Thursday, February 6, 2014

Edinaldo, who was baptized by Elder Sepulveda. Also pictured are me, Elder Carr, and Elder Baldera.

Week 25: Júlio de Mesquita, in the jungle!

Hey everybody!

Thats right, Im in a new area!! After 4 months of serving in Vila Medeiros, the Lord has finally called me to leave the city of São Paulo, and start working in Sorocaba! My area is called Júlio de Mesquita #2, a part of the Trujillo stake. It's basically a small town, right next to the big city (though not as big as São Paulo) of Sorocaba. There are a whole lot less hills here than in VM, and things appear good here. However, as you all may have noticed, this is JDM2, because this area was recently split in half, to fit two sets of missionaires, but in an area that one set could easily handle. The area itself is actually quite disorganized, and it appears as though theres not a whole lot of progress that they have here. My companion is Elder Sepúlveda, a Chileno that opened the second area. Hes a goofy elder, and although Ill have to help him learn to be a bit more organized, well have plenty of success here. We also live with Elder Carr, an american with one month more than me on the mission, and Elder Baldera, a new Peruvian missionary that Elder Carr is training. Overall, things have a whole lot of potential here.

On to our (new) top investigators!!

Edinaldo- This was actually kind of  a steal for me. Last transfer, ES said that they barely had any success, except for with him. I came in just in time to teach him the last bits of stuff, and be there for his baptism on Saturday! He was overly excited to be baptized, and I got to participate in his confirmation. Ill send a picture after this email.

Thelma- One of the only other 2 investigators that ES had. She has had a fear to pray to God for an answer, but we finally told her that she can have this courage, and pray for this courage. She accepted a date for the 15th, conditional on her receiving an answer, for baptism! However, looking at some parts of her situation (specifically with the Law of Chastity), we still have a lot of work to do with Thelma.

Joelson- The other investigator that already existed. Hes married to a half active member of the church, and already knows almost everything. However, he has a giant fear of praying and asking God if this is true, for fear that he wont get an answer and itll ruin his marriage. We taught him the commandments and he said that hes willing to live them...when he gets an answer. But he also shared the gospel with a neighbor, so I think he just doesnt know that he knows that its true.

David- We found him while knocking doors. With about 25 years, He already talked to the missionaries about a year back, and believes in the message, but he had doubts about getting baptized. The other missionaries dropped him eventually. But he took our finding him as a sign that its time to get baptized, so he accepted a date for the 15th! So now we just need to get him to church.

Cèlia- Another ancient investigator that we just happened to find. She really wants to believe that its true, but when she prayed to God, she just asked for knowledge, avoiding the question. We explained the importance of praying for specific things, and that God can answer these prayers. She was very excited, and she accepted the challenge to pray again!

Other notes:

The house here is an absolute mess. I dont know whats been going on, or where this new sense of needing to clean things up came from, but Ive started to go on a Super Nanny streak of shaming this mess. There were pamphlets everywhere, important papers in a shameless pile, dishes filling the sink, everything. Ive finally broken, and become THAT guy that needs cleanliness. Its necessary.

As you can probably notice, this weeks investigators had a common theme: needing to pray to God. Just to explain to all of you, you have the ability to pray to God for specific things in your life. You can ask Him, in the name of Jesus Christ, for answers to specific things, and through the Holy Ghost He can answer your prayers. We teach people that they can pray specifically for the thigns that we teach them (if Joseph Smith saw God, if the Book of Mormon is true, etc.). So remember that.

And theres a supermart-type place here! Im actually in a lan house thats in the walmart-type structure here! Although theres not an option to switch to an English keyboard, so thats pretty obnoxious.

Alright, on to individual emails! Love you all!

Elder Youd

Celebration Pizza for Douglas' Baptism

Douglas with his mom and sister Jessica, as well as the missionaries.

Baptism of Douglas. The youth leader, Augosto, baptized him.

Week 24: The sun of South America, the People of Europe

Yes, this is referring to the weird phenomenon that's happened this week, in that everybody is rejecting us. In Brazil. Weird weird weird.

Oi everybody!
This week's been a bit harder, in a way that is very strange to describe. As missionaries, we've always had problems to find new people to teach (Sao Paulo North is one of the harder Brazilian missions, along with Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo West), but this week was a new level of difficulty. We literally went to the lowest level of finding new people (knocking/clapping at doors), and still everybody rejected us. With over 100 people that we talked to, we got 8 new people. Weird weird weird.

Most of our investigators have fallen, but we still have a few that have potential. Here they are:

Fransisco and Darci- Fransisco went to a bunch of stake conference activities this week (a lot about auto sufficiency, which he needs since his job is freelance), and he loved it. We taught them commandments, and they had no problems with it at all. So they both agreed that they want to be baptized soon, they just have to look at their schedule and decide when. Literally, the hardest part with them is just getting them to think a bit faster (They're both in their 60s, and tend to think on a much more long-term basis.) But they're almost guaranteed baptisms.

Maria- Still crazy. Still surprising. SHe read 3 Nephi 11 5 times, but didn't know how to pray, so she hasn't prayed yet. But who knows? Maybe she will.

Jessica-We couldn't find her this week, but we talked to her at STake conference. She still isn't ready for baptism. She's already been interviewed. She just needs to decide when she wants to be baptized.

THat's all of our main people this week. It's been difficult, but I know that, being on the Lord's errand, He has people that are prepared to hear this gospel and accept the path of Jesus Christ. There are people all over the world that God is preparing to accept the Gospel; all we need to do is pray to find these people, that we can teach them and help them come unto Christ. I've seen the change that it can have in the lives of people, including Marcio and his family, as well as Douglas. I know that this change, this increase of light and happiness, can come by none other except God himself. He has a plan for all of us, and we have the opportunity to accept that plan and receive exhaltation.

On another note, we learn about transfers today, so there's a chance that I'll leave Vila Medeiros. But you'll all get to learn about that next week :D

Sorry this email is a bit shorter, but not much happened this week! It appears that I picked a computer that works today, so I'll send a bunch of photos! Love you all!

Elder Youd