Monday, December 22, 2014

First line of business - clean graffiti off chapel!

December 22, 2014
         I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to write in my journal this week. So much has happened that I don’t even know where to begin.  First of all, I got transferred which is a good thing because it is hard on missionaries to stay in the same place for a long time.  Unfortunately, we were just getting ready to baptize several people and starting to finally have some success in teaching.  I will miss Elder Yarrington and I hope that he will be okay.  Anyway, now I am in Conjunto Ceara.  A good way to know what kind of area it is to picture what I saw when I went to church for the first time.  They actually have a nice little chapel (much better than not having one at all like in my last area.) Somehow someone got onto the secured church grounds and painted graffiti all over the front.  Yeah it left me with a bad first impression. My new companion is Elder Ferrao.  He said that it has been on the church for over a month now. I am planning a service project with the Elder’s quorum to clean it up.
My companion is a great guy from Rio Grande de Sul, which is a part of Brazil that is right on the border with Uruguay.  He said that in one day he has crossed the border at least 6 times because there is no regulation of the border in that part of the country. He is the youngest of 8 kids and all of his siblings have served missions (or are serving.)  He said that ever since he was 6 years old his family has had a member of their family gone for Christmas.  We get along super well and I am very blessed because he is the only missionary left in this area from the last transfer.  He helps me to find my way around and to meet people.  This area is a bit difficult because we have no teaching pool and everyone we meet says they don’t have time to talk to us until next year…in other words, after the holidays. 

The other elders living in the house are Elder Anderson – from Michigan and Elder Dorneles from Brazil.  Elder Anderson is teaching me a few tricks on the rubics cube.  He served in Oklahoma for almost a year as a visa waiter, but finally made it here a little while ago.  He is doing really well with the language and is the senior companion.  I have known Elder D. for a while now.  We were in the same zone a long time ago, then we were transferred into the same zone again, and then we were moved into the same house and served in the same ward, and now we were both transferred to a different area together.  Now I am his district leader and it might be a challenge because we know each other so well.
I don’t have much time left, so I will close with letting you know that I am happy and that I am looking forward to my new challenge. I can’t wait to talk to you on Christmas!!! Please send pictures of Taylor’s reunion.  I am glad that she is home for Christmas with the family.  Believe it or not, I am not trunky – I am feeling strong and ready to work. 

Monday, December 15, 2014


This week is AWESOME! I love p-day! I'm getting transferred, my family is doing great, and I'm a missionary!!! I'm also going to be a district leader again, and I'm once again going to another dangerous area... I'm just convinced that this entire city is dangerous. It'll all be fine. I still haven't been robbed yet, so the Lord is on my side!

December 8, 2014
         One of our investigators  bought us a 1 kg. bar of delicious chocolate so I decided to make chocolate chips our of it and then I made chocolate chip pancakes!  Talk about divine!
         This afternoon we taught a huge group of evangelicals and it turned out pretty well.
December 9, 2014
         Today we did something highly unusual when we did a service project for one of our investigators.  We painted two grates in front of their home.  Since there were two of them we decided to each take one.  I finished mine and then I turned my attention to the other one……face palm, Elder Y  did a lot of painting but in a very random pattern.  He tried to explain to me the details of his intricate method, but I couldn’t follow his logic. 
         Our cool miracle of the day (as Levi would say), happened when we were walking past this house and I just had to stop suddenly and go back to talk to the people there. It was a family of 3 and they let us in to teach them.  The mother of the family told us that it was her dream to get married and have her child baptized.  It was a pretty cool experience and they accepted our help in getting married.  I love it when I get to be a part of things like this.
December 10, 2014
         Our zone is doing a musical presentation for the Christmas Mission Conference and one of the kids in the zone leader’s ward is SUPER musical.  He wrote an arrangement of the First Noel, Silent Night, Hallelujah, and Mary did you know.  It is going to be totally awesome!  We have a lot of great singers in our zone and there are some sweet solos.  Needless to say, I will be on the piano. Thankfully I have been able to practice on the member’s keyboard in my spare time.
         We had 2 really good lessons with members today.  In one of the lessons, the member sang “Away in the Manger” and that left a really nice spirit with our investigator.   In the other lesson, we took our investigator to a members house for a lesson and the member was able to help a lot with encouraging  our investigator to live the Word of Wisdom and the law of chastity. 
December 11, 2014
         Everything fell through today but we did some pretty cool contacting, and I made some more chocolate chip pancakes which saved the day!
December 12, 2014
         Elder Percival and I went on splits today.  We ended up teaching only new investigators and they could all be really good or not. In between teaching assignments, we saw this old man who was just sitting on the side of a road in a rocking chair.  He looked exactly like half naked Santa.  Seriously, he had a huge perfectly white beard, and shoulder length snowy white hair.  It could have been Santa resting up for his busy season.  I asked Elder Percival to take a picture of his sometime for me.  It made my night!
December 13, 2014
         Today we taught a 17 year old girl and it was really difficult because she lives with and extremely drunk and mentally ill aunt.  The aunt will not leave her alone and will also not keep quiet.  Let’s just say that she was very irreverent, loud, and funny.  In the end of the lesson, Elder Y. moved to sit next to the aunt to distract her so that I could finish teaching our investigator.  It was next to impossible, so we wrapped things up quickly and our investigator promised to come to church on Sunday so that we could teach her another lesson after church.
          We confirmed with 13 people that they would come to church tomorrow.  I hope that everything works out, but I am not holding my breath. 
December 14, 2014
         The only investigator to follow through in coming to church was our 17 year old girl.  We were able to teach her a good lesson after church and she has already accepted to be baptized, but first we need to teach her all of the commandments.
After the lesson, some other elders taught us how to roast cashews. The nuts literally burst into flames!  It was pretty sweet. 
Later on I had a discussion with my zone leader about one of our investigators who has set multiple baptismal dates, but never comes to church so I keep postponing the date.  My zone leader thinks that we should still baptize her even though she never keeps this commitment.  I told him that I didn’t think it was a good idea to baptize her before she was really ready.  He responded with, “Elder, are you scared to baptize?”  Oh boy, if he would have said this to me a couple of months ago, I would have flipped. But instead, I calmly explained to him what it teaches in Preach my Gospel about baptism.(which we were told had been declared by the First Presidency to be scripture.) He didn’t like that, but he stopped arguing with me.  Later on in the day I felt that I should call him to clear the air so that there were no hard feelings.  As it turned out, he called me first and apologized to me and told me that he was wrong.  That has never happened to me before.  In the end everything got resolved except for the fact that our investigator is still not progressing.  I am definitely ready for p-day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A week of HIGHS and LOWS

Miracle keyboard from a member to help me with my assignment to accompany the choir at the Christmas devotional.
December 1, 2014
         IT’S DECEMBER!!! I can’t believe it.  Time is flying by for me.  I went to Aldeota with Elder Rodgers to practice for a choir piece with Sister Evans.  I am getting good at sight reading, but overall my piano skills are really terrible.  I suppose that is to be expected when I never have the chance to practice. I am kindof worried about how I will manage at the U in the music school after my mission.  After that, we went to lunch at Burger King which is a tradition for missionaries in Aldeota.  So much so that I ran into Elder Curty and Elder Zuniga.  That made my week super awesome because Elder Curty in finishing his mission on December 15th and I wouldn’t have had a chance to say goodbye to him before he left.  He was basically my trainer when I first arrived in Brazil and I am sure that I would not have survived without his help.  I found out that my actual trainer is dating a 16 year old from his last area in the mission. Yeah, there are lots of stories about him and I am just blessed to have had Elder Curty to get me through that time. Anyways, Elder Curty will be going home to Rio and he lives very near where Taylor is currently serving so he is going to go and see if he can go on some teaching appointments with her before she leaves on the 17th. That would be awesome!
December 2, 2014
         Lunch today was rather interesting.  We didn’t have another man with us, so our investigator called one of her friends so that we could eat with them.  And…this friend was way out there.  Haha….the missionaries had already taught him in the past so he recounted the Joseph Smith story in a rather interesting manner.  He told us that Joseph came out of the jungle and was basically this mysterious forest man until one day a man appeared to him and told him to start a church.  Pretty weird, and when we tried to tell him the true story, he was convinced that he was right.  The rest of our lessons kind of followed suit and were mostly annoying.  We are going to have to drop a lot of people.
December 3, 2014
         I am concerned about M.  He is a great investigator and already believes everything.  But he never comes to church.  Anyways, we taught his 17 year old girlfriend about the Book of Mormon and it actually went a lot better than I thought it would.  She is holding him back though because every time he has a free Sunday, she wants him to do stuff with her. 
         Probably our only solid investigator with a baptismal date, postponed her baptism again because she is planning on going out of town this weekend.  It is getting harder and harder to get her to keep her commitments. 
December 4, 2014
         We had an investigator that we dropped a while back. He has read a good part of the Book of Mormon but he never has prayed about it and he doesn’t go to church.  Well we just stopped by to say hello and we had a chance to teach him a little about prayer.  We read 2 Nephi 32:8-9 that talks about how it is an evil spirit that teaches a man not to pray, and also 2 Nephi 33 when Nephi talks about how Christ himself will show you that these words are true.  Well, surprisingly he committed to come to church to learn more.
         We visited another investigator C. who is really dedicated and progressing well, but can’t make it to church because she visits her daughter in jail on Sundays.  We had a lesson with her and her sisters and nieces and nephews, but basically none of them except C. were interested.  When we talked about sacrifice and how God blesses us when we put Him above all else, we challenged her to go to church again.  She told us that she would visit her daughter this Sunday just to let her know that she would not see her the following week because she was going to go to church with us.  That really made my day!
December 5, 2014
Elder Y. didn't want to take the shirt off to iron it...he is lucky he didn't get hurt.
         We taught I. this morning and his wife about eternal marriage and he seemed a bit off.  It always happens when his wife is around. Anyways, she actually got a bit more interested and we ended up having a good lesson.  Right after that we went on splits with Elder Gustafsen and we taught a LOT in his area.  Some of the lessons were good, but others not so much.  When I got back, it turned out that every appointment in our area fell through and Elder H. and my comp only did a few contacts.  What???  He is our zone leader out with my greenie and they didn’t do any contacts.? Uggh.
December 6, 2014
         Boring and frustrating Saturday. Our investigator C. was going to get baptized, but didn’t show us. She was super excited to be baptized and was ready and everything. BUT when the time came, we couldn’t find her.  We were waiting outside her house when she finally showed up… hammered.' She just walked past us into the house and refused to talk to us. She said that we should pass by only on Monday. Yeah, what is sad is that she didn't have a problem with drinking, she just decided to go out to a party with her friends and have a good time right before her baptism. Oh well, she knows exactly what God wants her to do. Sadly, we can only lead a horse to water, but we can't make him drink. (apparently Satan gets them to drink from another well.)
December 7, 2014
         Finally someone came to church today.  It was one of our investigators sisters….and she ended up liking it a lot. We found out after church that this lady had an interest in the church about a year ago, but stopped coming to church because the missionaries made some self righteous remarks that offended her.  We talked to her for a while and she is going to read the Book of Mormon again.  After church we had an awesome dinner with a great family.  They happen to have an electric keyboard that they let me borrow for the next week so that I could practice for the choir…YEAH, this was a miracle that I really needed.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Thanksgiving Pizza

November 23, 2014
         I am feeling much better.  A. came to church today! It was a small victory for us.  She is super nervous about her baptism this week.  We finally started working on Sunday nights because President Bonini changed the weekly planning to a Thursday instead of Sunday night.  We had this super cool activity with the ward where we taught them the missionary lessons and prepped them to do contacts.   It worked really well and they gave us 24 referrals.  Too bad I was in the other Elders area.  Next time, it’s going to be in our area.

November 24, 2014
         P-day was pretty great today.  Super busy, but we had a good time. I. made lunch for us which was super good. There was very little food, but he cooks very well so it was delicious.  After that I made this super cool family night activity that we did 3 times in the same night. It was the corn starch object lesson where you make a comparison of the starch to faith.  If you don’t do anything the starch and water combination will turn to liquid, but if you keep working on it, and molding it, then the faith will stay firm.  The point is that you never reach a point where you can say to the Lord, I’m done, there is nothing else that I need to do.  Until we stand before Him on judgment day,  we still have work to do to endure to the end.
November 25, 2014
         Oh my gosh, we had this crazy lesson with a man who has been to jail and now wants to be a pastor.  He was a deacon in another church and he was praying over the pulpit and he said that he had a revelation that the pastor was upside down and naked.  He called the pastor to repentance and told the congregation what he saw in a vision,  and then pastor called him to repentance…yeah.  We closed the lesson.
Those are all pictures that our super cool investigator  took after one of our lessons. I love his dog! He's not even a year old and he's freaking huge!
November 26, 2014
         District meeting was interesting today. We didn’t have the keys to the chapel so we were trying to figure out what to do.  Elder Benitez was in chare and he wanted to call the zone leaders to see if we could have the meeting in our house.  Elder Ricks just looked at him and said, “you’re the leader, take charge.”  Yeah, Elder B. is a really good guy, but he struggles taking the reins of leadership.  All I can do is support him and the decisions that he makes. 
         A. is super nervous about her baptism and she wants to delay a week.  She says that she still wants to be baptized, but she is fearful about it. 
November 27, 2014
         Finally we talked with L. who is R.’s husband.  Their entire family wants to be baptized, but we still needed to get the husbands permission for the kids to be baptized.  Everyone told us that this guy is rude and a brute and that we should be careful about bothering him.  But, I felt that we should take the time to respect him as the head of his household.  I must admit that he was intimidating at first with his long hair, mexi-stache, and construction worker body.  It turned out that we hit it off really well and he told us that he wanted to come to church with us.
THANKSGIVING PIZZA!!!!!!!! That was the best thing that we could have done for Thanksgiving. I know that Taylor sent a bunch of spiritual thankful quotes.... but... Yeah, she's always been better about that kind of stuff than I am. I know that I'm kind of a goof, so that's just who I am!
        It’s THANKSGIVING today and you know what I am thankful for?  PIZZA!  Yep was absolutely awesome to have pizza for thanksgiving.  We bought 4 large pizzas to split with 6 Elders.  I miss traditional food, but pizza was a good substitute.
November 28, 2014
         Wow, I. made us the most delicious brunch for us today.  He loves us!  It is nice to be treated well by someone because there is plenty of rejection in our work.  It was also a blessing because our lunch appointment fell through.  We spent all day trying o confirm our investigators baptismal interview, but it fell through.  Ugghh!
         I went on divisions with Elder Percival today and I realized how much I have gotten out of the habit of contacting.  I am going to improve on this in the next couple of days for sure. 
We were fasting one day, and let's just say that I'm kind of killing my companion at the pace that I'm setting! Haha, I thought that he was starting his fast after lunch and he started to pray, and pray and pray... After about 20 minutes I figured out that he was sleeping. I never know because he always prays in this position, even when he's not tired! (all this mess is his side of the room. I try to be more orderly).
November 29, 2014
We worked really hard this week, but still no one came to church. Well, we did have this 17 year old girl and her cousin come, but they mixed up the times, got there at 7:30 instead of 9, waited for 10-15 minutes, and then left. BUT they did at least try to come!
I don't think that I sent this picture nor the video about how the cashew is actually a fruit! This is how it looks and it's pretty tasty. You might not like it on the first bite, but you grow to love it. There are so many here, that you just throw stuff into the trees and they'll fall right down. We have a lot of coconuts, mangos, and cashews here in the northeast. It's pretty cool.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Transfers - Staying put

November 17, 2014
         I am still not feeling 100%, but I managed to eat today.  Today was also transfer day and no one moved in our zone.  Not even Elder Dorneles or Elder Rogers.  This is their 4th transfer together.  Elder D. has been here for 5 transfers.  The hard part is that they don’t like each other – that is probably why they are still stuck as companions! 
         We taught several really good lessons today.  One of our investigators is really ready for baptism but she is not able to attend church on Sunday right now because her daughter is in jail and the only visiting day happens to also be on Sunday. It is more important right now for her to try to help her daughter. 
November 18, 2014
         We went back to teach our lawyer friend.  He is super cool.  He has a huge dog that is a cross between a rotweiler and a Doberman.  He calls the dog, Judge and yeah he is an intimidating watch dog. We taught an unusual lesson on the Restoration that included church history discussion about Kirkland, Far West, and Nauvoo.  It was very interesting.  I really hope that he continues to stay interested to learn more.
November 19, 2014
         So our new zone leader has been in Brasil for all of 2 months.  Elder H. was serving his mission here for 10 months but then went home because of back pain.  After a few months he came back and now he is here in our zone.  It is really different…and there are a lot of other really strange things that happened with this transfer.  I will just keep on working and keeping my head down as I work.
         We finally caught up with C., our investigator who has been dodging us for a while now.  She says that she has been missing church because she was asked to be a Godmother for a friend’s baby and so she has been attending the Catholic Church for the past several weeks.  But, she says that she is excited to be finished with that and she is now ready for her baptism which is scheduled for next week.
November 20, 2014
         We met with our lawyer friend today and he is looking forward to church on Sunday, but he still hasn’t read the Book of Mormon.  We focused on the importance of scripture study and in particular reading the Book of Mormon.  Today was the first day that we made friends with his monster dog – Judge.
November 21, 2014
         I got my birthday package!!!! I opened it in honor of my Dad’s birthday.  It was also one of our Zone leaders birthday and an older guy in our ward’s birthday.  We sand happy Birthday in English to the older man and he absolutely loved it.  He is a humble fisherman and he loves the missionaries so much. 
This is the shell that the old fisherman/missionary dad gave me for christmas and my birthday. I think that it is super cool
 Anyways, I loved my package!  By far the best thing in my package was the photo book with pictures of all the people from the ward holding “Happy Birthday Elder Colvin” poster.   It was so cool to see everyone.  Freckles and Tootsie Roll look ancient!  I also loved the guitar book that my parents sent me.  It says that it is for absolute beginners and literally starts out like this: “What is this thing sitting on my lap? It is called a guitar.”  It is super fun, and funny.  My companion (the pro guitarist) looked through it and he said that it is a really good book and would really help me out.  Also – loved the corn nuts…a LOT!  The bug toy is hilarious.  I was reading the warnings on the package and it says in big bold letters:  “DO NOT EAT HEXBUG!”  haha.  Anyways, Mom, it was a fun package. Thanks!
         In the missionary department, we had another investigator delay their baptismal date.  I am not too worried about it though because we still have some things that we could review with her that might help her feel more prepared.  We will keep trying to help her.
November 22, 2014
         So funny story, we have a recent convert who is a super smart and nice young man of 12 years, who went out with us on teaching appointments.  He is quite small for his age which made for a terrified little boy when he first met Judge.  The dog was bigger than the boy!  Things got complicated in our discussion so I am thinking that we will not likely see our investigator in church on Sunday, but he is going to have lunch with us on Monday.   

Monday, November 17, 2014

Zone Conference

       So this week was actually super super good. We taught plenty, but a couple of investigators had some accidents and couldn't come to church. We did have A. come though! She is super great and hilarious. She absolutely loves church, and already gave up coffee. I got to play piano for the primary today and that is always fun for me. We also had our zone conference one Wednesday where our president was trying to roast all of the missionaries who baptize people just for the numbers' sake and not actually taking care of the people. (See Ezekiel 34:1-10) The cool part of the conference was that 6 of the Elders from Canada stayed at our place. Yeah, 12 elders in 2 houses right next to each other is definitely not a good idea, but it was fun. I have no clue as to how we got to bed on time, but we managed to do it. I gave my bed to another Elder who has a hard time sleeping.  Sadly, I don't sleep well on the floor either.  I ended up getting up early and making breakfast for everyone. I made tapioca saborosa which is a crepe-like dish. 
        We also met this guy who is studying law to be a judge.  He has studied a lot of different religions and he was curious about ours. He was very interested in the Book of Mormon and says he wants to read it.  We set up an appointment for this week and I'm pretty stoked. One of his best friends lives in the states and his first name is Colvin! Weird, huh? I hope that everything goes well when we're gonna teach him. 
        On Saturday we had this huge CHURRASCO  (barbecue),  at the stake presidents house with all of the missionaries and we all ate a ton!!! We started our fast right after (we are fasting for rain in drought ridden Sao Paulo) and I have no clue what happened to me. I decided to fast and I was going to do it for the full 24 hours, but I was not up for it because I started feeling sick. Still, I did it anyways, and then for some reason I could not manage to actually 'break' my fast. I tried to eat, but I couldn't because my stomach hurt so much. Ironically, lunch was so bad today that another Elder actually threw up the lunch after a couple of bites.  I didn't end up eating lunch, and I tried eating when we got back to the house, but I just didn't feel like eating at all. It was super weird. I almost threw up, but there was nothing to throw up. I couldn't sleep very well. Elder Rodgers had some peptobismol that I took and I managed to eat a little bit of bread and drank some water. Seriously, this fast broke me. 
        But, this week should be a good week and I just hope that I'm feeling better by tomorrow. I forgot to take pictures of my journal this week, but that's all of the major stuff that happened this week.  We had a Joseph Smith; Prophet of the Restoration film as a ward activity and 6 of our investigators showed up. They all liked it and thought that it was interesting. They didn't end up coming to church, but they will once their relative that they visit every Sunday gets out of prison. Really, this week was just a whole lot of ups, with just this big down at the end with me getting sick, but I'm pretty happy with it. I hope that this week goes even better. I love you all and hope you guys have a ton of cool experiences this week. Tchau!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Another week

November 2, 2014
            Today was another depressing day at church because yet again, none of our investigators came to church.  The main reason is because it is “the day of the dead” here.  It is not super huge in Brasil, but everyone does like to use the holiday to travel to visit family and pay respects to their dead relatives in the cemeteries.  After church, we passed by a less-active member’s house because he asked us to translate a document into English for his cousin.  The member actually studies English and knows a lot, but got stumped on some formal terms.  I have to admit that it was actually quite hard for me to do even though I know both languages.  The whole experience gave me a stronger testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and his gift of translation of the Book of Mormon. 
            Ward council meeting was interesting because they discussed the ward budget and it really shocked me how little money this ward has to operate on.
My comp is the only one who has more than a year to go! And his usually chilling spot is just sitting in the hammock playing guitar.
November 3, 2014
            We went to Centro for p-day (against my wishes) and wasted a ton of time.  I ended up enjoying it though because we got our money, and I bought a new messenger bag. We spent so much time that I didn’t have any time to write letters or play the guitar.  I limit myself very strictly to playing guitar only during our allotted free time, so if I use up all of my free time doing other things, then, no guitar.  We did get to visit with C. and she explained that she missed her baptismal interview because she didn’t feel ready to make the commitment of baptism.  We will visit more with her tomorrow to figure things out.
November 4, 2014
            C. set a new date for baptism of November 29.  She wants to make sure that she is really able to live the standards of the church before baptism.  She is very sincere and making progress all the time, so hopefully she can continue. We also found a very cool less active man who was very good to us.  He treated us to just about everything that he had and wants us to come back and teach him.  We have a companionship goal to make contact (as in visiting) 10 men every day.  We are almost reaching our goal, but it does chew up time.  The men are very hard to contact because they are working, but that is what we need in our ward.  It does help us to get to know more people in our ward. 
November 5, 2014
            We passed by A. today and she is still working on quitting coffee.  It is hard for her and for many Brasilieros, but she said that she would buy Cevada and replace it ASAP.  She still is pretty excited about the gospel and we love working with her. 
            We had a great meeting with our ward secretary who is acting as our temporary ward mission leader.  It was probably one of the most productive church meetings that I have ever been to.  It looks like we are finally going to get the help we need to organize the members and put them to work helping us.  Our new WML gave us a good pep talk and boosted our faith. Now I feel super pumped to work harder and I hope that everything will work out as he outlined.
November 9, 2014
            Our week went well after our meeting with our WML.  We found a lot of people to teach.  Many of them literally said, “I want to be baptized”.  The only problem is that most of them work on Sundays and cannot attend church.  Seriously, out of all the commandments, keeping the Sabbath day holy is actually the hardest one for people to obey.  So this week we were super pumped for church because we had more than 18 of our investigators say that they would come to church for sure. We even had members help us to check up on investigators…then, no one came. Ughhh, it is hard to stay excited for the work when this happens week after week.  Yesterday we helped one of our investigators move and we got super filthy ad worn out.  She promised that she would come to church today. Promises really don’t mean a whole lot to people here in Fortaleza. 
            We did have a good class on missionary work in Elder’s quorum where we were able to get the few elders there excited to help us.  We had another small blessing after church when we were able to get a ride in the bed of a pick up truck to our lunch appointment.  There were 13 other people in the truck…a tight fit, and not very safe, but totally worth it!
            I am really excited for p-day because I am totally wiped out: physically because of the move on Saturday, spiritually because of the disappointments and lack of progress, and emotionally because Elder Yarrington is struggling emotionally and needs extra support from me.  He tends to get stressed out, emotional, and take things way to seriously.  Yeah, in other words he reminds me of me when I first started my mission.  I can see a lot of the same types of thinking that I used to have in him so that makes it a lot easier to try to help him.  Because I understand him, I am able to help him or at least try to help him so that he doesn’t have to learn the hard way like I did.  I actually have changed a lot on my mission, mainly about the taking things super seriously. I've developed a lot of patience and be a lot more grown up while at the same time being sensitive to people. I'm not quite so emotional or easily offended like I used to be.
          So I got my Christmas package and I am not ashamed to say that I have already eaten a good part of the candy therein. Yes. Haha, I also realized this week that here in Brasil, people start celebrating Christmas as early as November 2! Like Christmas trees and everything! It's weird seeing Christmas trees so early in the season!  I loved Sawyer's Symphony performances!  The symphony is really really good this year!
One of the missionaries in our house really likes classical music (Elder William Percival.) He plays the oboe. He is always playing classical music in our house. All the time. I like it, but other missionaries are starting to get sick of it.
My comp placed his visa picture in my guitar so I'll always be able to remember him.

My district leader bought an inflatable airplane. Not a good idea with over 5 missionaries that are going home in less than a year.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Just working

October 27, 2014

         P-day was chill.  We cleaned the house really well. I learned how to play “Savior, I would follow thee” on the guitar.  I taught myself and that was really fun.  Yeah, it was a really nice quiet p-day.  I found out that my Dad is doing well and he is finally going to be able to get his stem cell transplant. I am not too worried about him.  Taylor is really wrapping up her mission with only 6 weeks left!  We bought some more ice cream which make me really happy. 

         On the teaching side of things, we taught C. today and she is getting excited for her baptism.  She has been very fun to teach.  We also has a family night activity with M. and all of her grand children were there.  It was a crazy irreverent night, but she said she loved it!

October 28, 2014

         Wow, we taught a lot today!  We taught a guy who has an ankle bracelet on because he just got out of jail.  We gave a very basic message and invited him to come to church.  We also found a great family.  When we first met the father of the family he gestured wildly and I thought he might be crazy, but thing we figured out that his wife is deaf and he was signing to her.  We taught the restoration using a lot of gestures and it worked out well.

October 29, 2014

         C. is ready for her baptism but she seems a little nervous.  We had another great lesson with a recent convert and his family about the tree of life.  The Dad (who is not a member of the church) made a comment at the end of the lesson that he has never partaken of the fruit before but would like to.  That was really a huge moment for us.  I really hope that he will choose to make some positive changes so that he can join his family who have all been baptized.

         I am not even halfway through the week and I am pooped.

October 30, 2014

         We have this one really annoying missionary in our district.  He is super authoritative even though he doesn’t have any kind of leadership position at all.  Anyways, he talked with our Elder’s quorum president and asked for a meeting to discuss ideas on how to help the Elder’s quorum.  Most of the Elders in the quorum wear nametags so this meeting was basically just a missionary telling the Elder’s quorum president what he was doing wrong in his quorum.  …WAY overstepping his boundaries.  Elder Yarrington (the district leader) got pretty dang riled up about that. 

October 31, 2014

         HAPPY HALLOWEEN.  I bought pumpkins for everyone because we have 5 North Americans in our district.  We were able to have a little bit of traditional fun.  Each companionship got to make their own jack-o-lantern.  I made this pretty cool frog.  The other elders didn’t put a whole lot of effort into theirs, but they had fun. 

         C. bailed out on her baptism interview for who knows why…we tried calling her, but she never picks up.  That’s the life of a missionary.

November 3, 2014

Elder Yarrington
Elder Yarrington and I went to the center of the city to buy some extra guitar strings and Elder Yarrington got to try out an electric guitar and just started shredding it up in the guitar shop. Anyways, I decided that I needed to buy extra strings too just in case mine broke too. When we got back, Elder Yarrington replaced his one string that had broken, tuned it, and then decided to switch all of his strings so that they were matching. Then he proceeded to cut the rest of the strings because that's the easiest and fastest way to take them off. The result: He cut all of them. Even the brand spanking new one that he had just bought. Brilliant! Haha I sold him the ones that I bought for the same price that I had bought them for, but he's dang lucky that I had decided to buy more of them!

My comp is doing well, except he talks in English a LOT and it's like a disease! Seriously, I'm starting to buckle down a lot more on the fact that we have to talk in Portuguese all the time, but we've gotten a pretty good plan worked out where all day we're going to speak Portuguese, and then he likes to video journal so that'll be his English time of the day. My investigators are doing well, but we have a ton of holidays here in this state and when there is a holiday, everyone goes out of town for it. It's annoying.

Our interview with the mission president a couple weeks ago was pretty frustrating because we were told that it would be at 3:20, and, being punctual as I am, we showed up at 2:40. Well. It turns out that our interviews didn't even start until 6:30. Ugh. My interview basically consisted of me telling the president that I'm tired, working hard, but tired. I didn't have any questions or comments, and he didn't have anything for me either. No big whoop. Elder Yarrington's interview was even less anticlimactic. He went in, said a prayer, president told him that keeping the rules and obeying the commandments will bring the spirit, said a prayer, and left. Yeah, we lost an entire day of work because of that. Oh well. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Never too tired for ICE CREAM!

If you are wondering why I never send pictures, it is because I will not have a camera for at least another 7 weeks, when my sister - who is returning home from her Brazilian mission in Rio - will send me her camera to replace the one that was stolen from me. 
26 October, 2014
         Man, I am just too tired to be writing in my journal every day…and to be honest very little different happens from day to day.  It is much easier just to note some of the interesting things that happen during the week.  We had the father of one of the families that we are teaching read about half of the Book of Mormon in 2 or 3 weeks.  He is still reluctant to pray about it, but he is still reading it.  The family hasn’t been able to read their assignments because the Dad is always reading it.  This is a really impressive family and I pray that they will pray to know the truth.
         Also we are teaching this awesome 68 year old woman who has a date to be baptized.  She cam to church this past week and loved it.  She came by herself and sat down next to a sister in the ward who happens to be the sister who always saves us at lunch time.  At first I thought that they knew each other because they got along so well. Nope, it is just like that with all the members here. Everyone loved her and included her, just like every missionary hopes their investigators will be treated. She said that she felt just like she belonged and was wanted.  This particular woman is the lady that we were impressed to stop and talk to one day. She told us that she had seen the missionaries many times before and had always wanted to talk to them, but never had the courage until we stopped her one day.  This is the type of reminder to me that I am doing the right thing.
         Weird story:  I saw a possessed dude the other day.  He was on the other side of the street and his eyes were open and staring at us, but they were completely rolled back in his head so that we could only see the whites of his eyes.  His mouth was open but he wasn’t speaking, and he was writing a bunch of stuff in the air and making signs and stuff. I have never seen a mentally ill person behave like this guy before, nor have I seen a druggy act this way. Anyway, it was both interesting and creepy and sad at the same time.
         The last story happened today and that is that we had dinner with an outstanding Brazilian family today.  In fact, I think that they are the coolest family that I have met on my entire mission.  They are a young couple with 3 little kids.  The father likes to learn to play piano (which is very rare for people to actually have in their homes here). I helped him to play and he told me that he was going to print off some Brazilian sheet music for me.  I got so excited!  That will make me really happy.  I miss music so much more than I thought that I would.  I practically live for the few minutes a day that I have to practice a little guitar.  It is such a good release of stress for me.
         Other than these few things, there has just been work, work, work!  I am really very tired every day, but I guess that is the way it is supposed to be. 
         I think that I will indulge in one of the few things still allowed on p-day…ICE CREAM!!!! I am going to go buy and eat a lot of it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NERD ATTACK - the perfect investigator

Little baby scorpion in our house.
12 October, 2014
         No one came to church again this week. Oh well, we worked hard, and that’s what counts.  This next week is really looking up and we should have a pretty packed week.  We finished planning early, and since it was before 9 we decided to throw a Frisbee around in our street.  Elder Rogers kept shouting in English fro our house’s window in his South Carolina accent and it was hilarious.  He was shouting things like, “Oh look out, that guy right there’s gonna rob ya’ll”, of “You bout to get whooped by a 5 year ole.” Yeah we were busting a gut. 

13 October, 2014
         P-day was awesome.  We basically got to stay at the house, drink coconuts, play guitar, email, and relax.  I learned Hallelujah and Back in Black on the guitar.  It is the perfect way to end the night after we plan, shower, and write in journals.  We will just play for 10-15 minutes and it helps us to wind down a bit.

14 October, 2014
         So we have this investigator who is super cool, but he almost never has time to come to church because he works so much and also attends school.  He has already made his way through a few pairs of missionaries.  He believes all that we teach him, but he just needs to work out his schedule so that he can come to church.  This week he told us that he thinks that he finally has it sorted out so that he can start to attend. 
         We also found a great family because I stopped to talk to a girl who was reading a Harry Potter book.  First of all, do you know how rare it is to find people who actually read anything here?  Secondly, Harry Potter????  Well we met with her family and Elder Yarrington has to use the bathroom so I had a few minutes just to chat with them and I found out that both the girl and her mom like Avatar:The Last Airbender.  Haha…and the girl has read all of the Percy Jackson books from both series.  NERD ATTACK !!!Anyways, the lesson with them went well and they accepted a Book of Mormon and actually showed the desire to read it.  They are also related to a really strong member family so they have a good feeling about the church. I am hopeful and excited to teach this family.

15 October, 2014
         Well I am pretty dang thankful for the power that prayer has. We were teaching an investigator yesterday when she started sharing her thoughts with us.  She doesn’t really have a testimony and she doesn’t really want to change.  Anyways, I decided to pray specifically about her to receive guidance on what she should do. Today she told us that God just answered her prayers and told her that she should keep pressing forward. Then we set a date for her baptism and she immediately started to obey the word of wisdom.  It is really hard for people here to obey the word of wisdom, especially coffee drinking because it is such a common thing to do here.  I am so thankful that both of our prayers were answered.
         Also today was our zone training with only 1 of the 2 districts in our zone which is kind-of strange.  President Bonini is really cutting off communication between missionaries. It is kindof sad.  Elder J. Silva (a former companion of mine) is in my zone now.  He seems to be doing well now. 

16 October, 2014
         Okay, so just a quick miracle today: we went to a member’s house because we needed another man to teach a lesson with our investigator, but he couldn’t leave with us.  Theyn we went to another member, but he couldn’t go with us either.  I was a little upset and didn’t know what to do, then we literally ran into another member who was right next to where our appointment was.  He came with us and the lesson went really well.  The girl we taught committed to being baptized on November 1st.
17 October, 2014
         Nothing happened today.  Seriously , we went to Albierta for interviews that were scheduled for 5:00. We showed up 15 minutes early just to make sure that everything was ready.  Yeah, the interviewer didn’t show up until 6:50.  We finished around 7:30 and we didn’t get back to our area until about 9:15.  It killed our day!

18 October, 2014
         I am dang tired after this week. It was super tiring.  Well, today didn’t help any, that’s for sure.  So we were going to get a ride with one of the few members who has a care to look for our investigators before sacrament meeting, but, yeah that fell through.  So we were at the church (which is outside of our area) and we had to come up with a way to get back to our area and pass by all of our investigators that said that they would come to church.  Our brilliant idea was to RUN. Yeah, we ran in our shirts and ties for probably 40 minutes total and man I am wiped out. We had 1 investigator come to church, but she is the one who is committed to baptism and it was worth it just for her.