|After a run with my new comp, Elder J. Silva|
May 1, 2014
Well this move has been a killer! I got transferred from Bom Jardim to Aerolandia to take the spot of Elder Oliveira. He served in this position ever since I set foot in Brazil, and he is just now leaving…that’s 8 months in one area! Kind of scary for me. Everyone in the ward kept playing around that he would have to start paying tithing soon. Anyways, my new companion is Elder J. Silva. The J. is to distinguish themselves from all the other Silva’s (it’s a common name!) He has only been a member for 2 years, and he was a hard core rocker before his mission. He gave up his long hair, metal t-shirts, leather jacket, and torn jeans for the mission – but he still loves and misses his rock music. He is 23, from Sao Paulo, and he has a fiancé (member) waiting for him back home. We’ve hit it off pretty well, and this first week is going better than expected. Below are pictures of our new, tiny, but clean apartment.
May 2, 2014
It is hard to find the time to write in my journal because of my new job as district leader over 8 sisters. The only other missionaries in my district are the zone leaders. I call the sisters every night to check on them. I try not to be too brief with the sisters because I want them to know that I care about them and I don’t want to be just another leader who gets after them for numbers. I know that it takes some effort to talk to sisters in order to build a relationship of trust with them and really be helpful to them.
Anyways, a couple of interesting things happened this week:
- Our bishop (who happens to be our neighbor) made food for us 3 times this week. One time we ate in his house, another time he took us to McDonald’s, and another was just last night when he brought us pizza! They have a daughter who is serving in Porta Allegre annnnnnd I think that they're hoping that she's getting the same treatment.
- We have a recent convert who’s mom is really cruel and I am not sure how to handle it. This young woman has a 10 month old son and a 4 year old son. The grandmother calls the baby a little monster, the devil, and a piece of trash, etc… It is really abusive. The 4 year old has picked up these traits from his grandmother and he is out of control. We were teaching one day and out of the blue this little kid snatches my nametag, runs away and throws it on the ground all while cussing me out with Portuguese swear words, and then he spit on me! Unfortunately, if the mother reprimands her little boy, the grandmother starts and ugly fight. It is complicated and very uncomfortable.
- Another interesting thing happened as we were walking down the street the other day. Someone yelled out to us, “Hey Buddy!” What??? It is super weird to hear people speak in English to you because it almost never happens. This guy, named Harrison, moved to Baltimore when he was 18 ad worked there for 8 years. He just recently returned, I guess to enjoy the wonders (?) of Ceara. Anyways, we talked for about 30 minutes and I showed him my pictures, and we talked a little bit about the restoration. He seemed pretty interested, so I passed the referral to the missionaries where he lives. It was a cool experience.
- We found someone in our ward (I had lunch
with him in Nova Aldeota AGES in the past) preparing for his wedding! It
was really weird to see people dressed up so nice in the middle of......
basically brick huts.
May 3, 2014
There is seriously no time to write in my journal at night. I always have to write in the morning in the few minutes I have before we start studying. I’m loving being the district leader this time around, and the sisters are really great, but it eats your time up. I like the members a lot in the ward. They’re always super nice where weå are. Really everyone here takes good care of the missionaries. Even people we don’t even know! Someone we just met yesterday wanted to talk with us, so we ended up visiting with them and drank 4 liters of Sao Geraldo – which is a soda that exists only her in Ceara. We had a great lesson with him. We just answered his questions this time, but next time we will have a more prepared lesson for him. Another thing that ended up pretty cool was that our bishop made breakfast for us today! He is an awesome support to us as missionaries. I think that the reason why is because he has a daughter who is a missionary right now so he is more aware of the needs of missionaries. The sisters here iån Aquanambi are both baptizing this week, so I’ve got to figure out something cool to do for them. I’m gonna get to do two interviews today so that will be a good experience for me, I hope!
May 4, 2014
I realized that we had a little miracle happen in our area today! We only had 2 investigators at church, but one of the, V., was contacted while we were waiting for the bus. We got her address, and I was just thinking that nothing would come of it, but then she ended up coming to church! The cool part of her story is that her address number is 317 which is the random number that President Souza dreams about, the number that he wants the mission to baptize every month since he has been the president. This number 317 is kindof a number that haunts us missionaries so we were like, whoa #317! So we went to this address and everyone on that street is a member of her family. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.
Monday, May 5, 2014
First of all news for my family: Dad – I got approval from my President to call you on Father’s Day. He didn’t even hesitate with my request. So Mom, I wanted to tell you that I love you and will miss talking to you on Mother’s Day, but we will all get a chance to visit in June. I hope you have a great Mother’s Day!
So I am really really tired. We didn't get a good p-day last week because I had to move in, and this week we were practicing in the choir for when Elder Andersen is going to visit us! It went really well, but was really long. Maybe I'm going to be the pianist, and maybe not. We'll see. Anyways, we're working really hard to have success here, and I can almost see it coming. I'm having fun working with the sisters, but it's stressful at times because I don't want to cause any drama/problems or anything of the sort with them. Luckily I have a great group of sisters. I'm going to be patient and try to be the best district leader that they've ever had. I love you all. Thanks for your update this week sawyer!
I bore my testimony 2 times this sunday! Haha that's probably the first and the last time that I will do that, but I think that it made a good impression on the ward. None of the other missionaries shared their testimonies..... BUT, I've made it my goal to share my testimony as frequently as I can!!! So far I haven't missed a chance in any one of the testimony meeting that I've had here in Brasil. Try to bear your testimony as much as you guys can! It's so good to let other people feel the truth of what you truly believe. It is the most effective way to help others to feel the spirit.
What is a testimony? To me, a testimony is what we believe. What we have faith in. What we know for ourselves to be true. I highly recommend to everyone to find their own testimony. If you don't know what you believe…well, you just don't know! haha It's incredible how many people do not have testimonies of anything. I walk around for days and weeks and months here in Fortaleza, and it's amazing how few people actually have testimonies. A testimony can be as simple as 'I know that Christ lives and that He is our Savior'. Until today, I still have not met anyone outside of the church bear testimony to me of what they believe to be true. All that I've heard are facts that other people have told them. A testimony is something that we gain for ourselves and is a confirmation of what we have diligently searched for ourselves, confirmed with God, and CONTINUE to strengthen it. The only way that we can strengthen our own testimonies is by sharing. I have not let by a single chance to bear my testimony in a fast and testimony meeting. Please please please remember to share what you know with other people! If we do so, then there can't be any confusion of people saying 'oh, you believe____ (insert rude comment)'. If we bear witness of what we believe, people can't deny that. My time is up, but I hope that all of you who have a testimony go about sharing it this week, and if you don't have one, you might want to start think about getting one for yourself.