Thursday, July 31, 2014

Just Workin

  Here is an email conversation Elder Colvin and his Dad had this week. It gives a little more insight into unique aspects of his mission:

Elder Colvin:             Wow, it sounds like your week was great! I feel really blessed to be serving in an area where people accept the gospel so easily. Well, it’s more like the people’s attitude here is ‘the word of God is good, so let’s listen’. The only problem is that just about everyone thinks that all churches are true and that they all have the word of God, etc. BUT we have the Holy Ghost on our side! ;) Still, I’m doing great, working hard, keeping on keeping on. We had another baptism this week, I’ll be sending pics in just a little bit. I’m not too stressed with the numbers game, because you just have to work and work and work and work some more. I’m learning how to talk with everyone, do a TON of contacts with my comp, and I’m losing a lot of the hesitation that just about everyone has when they’re new in the mission field. Are you guys feeling prepared for when Levi will leave? I’m glad that you guys are really showing love for people in the ward. That’s something that is seriously lacking here in Brasil, a genuine love to go out of the way for others. Everyone shares everything, but I’ve never heard of a family baking a treat for another family, or fixing problems for other people in the ward. There’s a lot of disconnection here and I don’t know how I can help.

Kyle:            Try to do as much service as a missionary that you can.  As members see the example of missionaries serving others outside of missionary work many things happen.  One, they will start to put their trust in the missionaries because they will know that the missionaries love and care about them.  Second, they will be inspired to reach out to others and serve others.  In yours and Taylor’s letters I hear almost nothing about service to others.  I think that spending several hours a week, at least, in service is as important as contacting 50 people.  The non-judgmental service of missionaries can go a long way to building the wards as well as advancing the missionary work.

Elder Colvin:              The only problem is that my new mission president isn't so hot on the idea of service projects. We tried asking him for authorization (we have to have authorization for every service project) and he straight up said “You were called to preach the gospel, not do service projects.” You know me, I love to work, and I'm dying to look for any opportunity to get out of a shirt and tie, BUT we don't have the opportunity to do planned service projects. However, we are planning a ward service project (the missionaries are planning) and we won't be able to be present. We would love to serve, seriously, Elder Moleiro is dying to do some projects, but for now we can just do some little unplanned service projects. Vai dar ceto!

This is what happened in my week:
July 21, 2014
            P-day with Elder Chaves and Elder Ferrari!  Elder Chaves and Elder Moleiro were best friends before the mission, so basically imagine Brett and Caleb hanging out for the day and that is how it went.  We practiced a little bit of boxing, took a ton of pictures, ate at Habib’s, etc.  It was weird because we could almost forget that we were missionaries.  I had to fix one of the urinals at church that flooded the bathroom, but that was the only thing that went wrong today. 
            We gave G. a picture book today so that she could look at the pictures instead of read the scriptures because her eyesight is so poor.

July 22, 2014
            Well lunch fell through again today so we went to Habib’s and ate a tone of food. I ate so much that I could barely walk.  L. decided to be baptized this week!!! The missionaries have been teaching her for months, and she is finally on track to be baptized.  It is exciting.

July 23, 2014
            Habib’s again…yeah, lunch falls through a lot in this area. It is a good thing that Habib’s is cheap.  We taught this 51 year old lady who is a 3 time karate champion.  She seemed pretty interested in our message. I am looking forward to teaching her more.  I think that it is funny imagining someone my mother’s age doing crazy martial arts stuff. 
            Our sweet Geralda thinks that she is our grandma!  She is helping us a lot with the missionary work.  She talks to everyone in the condominium where she lives. 

July 24, 2014
            We ate lunch at a member’s house today!!! Haha.  Our WML (who is also a recent convert), fed us because he felt sorry for us.  He is an EXCELLENT cook, and we were prepping ourselves for a fast, so let’s just say that I was prepared to last the whole 24 hours without even feeling hungry!  On my second plate, our WML brought out some pepper.  Oh boy, he warned me, and I knew it would be hot, but the other missionaries kept on bugging me and didn’t think that I could do it.  So, I took a generous spoonful and put it on my food.  I was almost crying, but I ate the whole plateful of food.  I suffered but I didn’t show it!
            L. is getting excited for her baptism.  Her interview is tomorrow and he baptism is Saturday.  We’re fasting for her so that everything will work out.  We are also fasting for A. and T. to help them have a desire to come back to church. 

July 25, 2014
            We feel that our fasting really helped.  We passed by L. to walk with her to church for her interview, but she had already left.  She is really showing her desire to change. 

July 26, 2014
            I haven’t talked much about the English class that I am teaching.  It is starting to pick up and it’s fun for me.  I don’t know if much will come of it from the missionairy standpoint, but I enjoy the break from my usual work.
            Our youth are working on a stake Olympics and we got to watch them play basketball….NOT one of Brasil’s strong points! Haha

July 27, 2014
            After our ward council meeting/2 hour Bishop’s monologue, we had to run home and make our own lunch because our appointment fell through again.  The other Elders never buy groceries with their money, so they keep eating all of the food that I buy.  I am starting to have to buy food using my personal funds and it is really stressful.  I find myself conflicted because now they are commanding me to make them something to eat….seriously.
            We made it back to church in time for me to baptize L. except I was in such a rush that I forgot my baptismal clothes and had to use a super-small jumpsuit!  It was pretty funny, but really uncomfortable.  Still, it all worked out.
Jump suits aren't stocked to fit North Americans.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A GOOD week in the mission field!

A GOOD week in the mission field!
 July 13, 2014

         G., our 90 year old investigator) came to church today!  We had to help her get a ride with a member who lives close by because she is old and almost blind.  She loved church! I was walking with some members and they said that she already wanted to be baptized.  She told us that she was feeling this great feeling of love at church.  Just imagine how many things that she has experienced in her 90 years of life.  She was telling us that this was the first time in five years that she has felt happy.  She said that we were an answer to her prayers.
 July 14, 2014
         P-day was AWESOME today!  We basically spent all day at the church training boxing, ju-jitsu, things like that. It was really nice to actually exercise, and send emails on and off without any pressure.  Elder Moleiro has me convinced to start do MMA when I get home.  Nothing serious, but I would like to learn a bunch of different martial arts like Muay-thai, jiu-jitsu, and even wrestling and boxing.  I ended up buying some boxing gloves to practice with.  My comp and I are going training everyday to get in better shape. 
         In the afternoon we visited less-active members.  We became instant friends with one married couple, but the husband will be really hard to convince to come back to church.  He has been less active for about 9 years now.  Prior to that he was in calling in the stake leadership.  It was Elder M. birthday today so I bought him sushi for his birthday treat from me!  This transfer is going to be good.
 July 15, 2014
         So I know that I have a problem with humility.  I have always had a hard time accepting advice from people without having something to say back to them.  My new comp is helping me with this by training with me in the mornings.  I had forgotten how much starting a new martial art leaves you very VERY humble.  I am definitely learning to swallow my pride and realize that I am wrong.  (Now if we could just figure out a way to teach this to my companion.) 
         We had a chance to teach G. today and she loves to talk!  She like to tell us a bunch of life stories and it’s really incredible how much life there is in 90 years.  She was raised Catholic and she was even a nun for 6 years from the time she was 17-23 years old.  Then she was disillusioned by the church and started church-hopping.  It only took her 67 years to find our church.  She says that this is it and she has never felt so happy in any other place.  It has really been a great experience to be a part of. 

 Elder Arruda! Finally I'm living with a missionary who's younger than me!
July 18, 2014
         Today I went on splits with Elder Arruda.  He has been in the area for 4 days.  We struggled to find our appointments, but by some miracle, we were able to make each one of them.  Unfortunately, as we found our way around, almost all of them fell through.  Elder Arruda is pretty cool.  He also studied martial arts before his mission, but he wants to study to be a neurosurgeon after his mission.  He’s not your typical meathead aggressive fighter type.  We also get the chance to play basketball together sometimes which is fun for me.

July 19, 2014
         G. is super ready to be baptized, but her kids keep trying to talk her out of it.  She has a strong testimony that the church is true.  She was telling us about her prayers, revelations, visions, dreams, etc. and it really seems that God wants her to hurry up and get baptized.  I guess that when you are 90, you don’t have much time left on earth so everything that needs to be done, needs to be done quickly.  She is really excited for her baptism tomorrow and is keeping firm in her faith.  She has been telling us how she has been preparing for this time for her entire life.  She even asked us what she needed to do in these last couple of days so that she can stay strong and return to live with God.  I know that she’s been prepared for something big.  She dreams and feels like God has a big mission for her, in this life or the next.  She is so great.
 This is Geralda! And the family that the other elders baptized in our ward!
 July 20, 2014
         G. was baptized!  Okay, this Sunday was entirely crazy so I’ll start at the beginning.  We had our usual meetings with the ward council in the morning bu when we were going to lunch we called to confirm our appointment, and the woman who was making our lunch said everything was ready for us.  We asked if there would be another man present for our lunch appointment because she is a single woman and it is against the rules for us to be there without three men present.  She was very rude to us and told us NO.  We asked if it would be okay if we brought someone with us, and again she rudely said NO. Okay….so we arranged to pick our lunch from her house and take it to our house to eat.  So we walked 30 minutes to her house and, SURPRISE, she wasn’t there. So, no lunch for us and it’s the Sabbath so we can’t buy anything. Oh well, we managed to scrounge stuff up quickly at our house before racing back to church.
         We left early so that we could make sure that G. would make it to church too.  She was already there waiting for us when we got to her house. She said that her son threatened to kill her if she went to church, but she decided to come anyways.  Her kids are monsters to her.  We also passed by a recent-converts house.  The strongest member of the house didn’t want to come because of some personal problem, but we ended up bringing her mom and nephew to church. (or rather they walked with us.)  I
was super impressed that this older, slightly overweight, woman would walk 30 minutes in the heat to come to church with us.  During church, the same woman who was upset with us about lunch, didn’t show up to teach gospel essentials because she was mad at us…go figure. A bunch of members from the Jatoba ward came to visit Elder Moleiro and brought him a birthday cake and salgados. 
         The baptism afterwards went really well.  G. was baptized by Elder. M. and Elder Lopes.  They both did it just to help her and make it a little easier on her.  She came out of the water crying.  It has been really special working with her.  
 Everyone in white!!!! Except for me..... haha we'll just have to baptize more people next time! ;)
Recently I have had more than a few people ask me how I feel about my mission and what it is like here in Brazil. I love the mission and I love the country. It's great, I just miss some little things from back home. About Brasil, I love the fruits, and the fact that there's basically no natural disasters here. Also, it's always hot here. That's good, but bad at the same time. Also, I love the way people are here. They're super happy, super open, and they love people. Especially American gringos. Haha, I think that the only city where I would live here in Brasil would be Curitiba, because it's the model city for Brasil. It's clean, advanced, and safe. It's also in the 'cold' part of the country, so it's always nice there. 

I was remembering this week what my last companion Elder Lemos told me one time. It was a question that really made me reflect on my spiritual well-being. Here it is: “Do you think that Jesus Christ would be able to trust you?” Whoa. He asked that for an investigator who kept saying that he would come to church, but he never came. This guy was able to recognize his fault and replied that no, He wouldn’t be able to trust in him. That got me thinking, how much is our word worth? Can it actually count for something? This is a part of our personal integrity and honesty with God and with other people. If other people can’t trust us, how do you think that God would be able to trust us?  I don’t know about you, but God’s trust is something huge. Just imagine. Someone that you love, wouldn’t you hope that they would be trustworthy? Wouldn’t you want to be able to give everything to them? Christ gave His own life for us. He gave everything. Doesn’t he deserve to trust us? In order to do that we need to be completely honest with Him, AND with ourselves.  Trust in God, trust in yourselves, and He will trust in you! Tchau!

~Elder Colvin

Monday, July 14, 2014

World Cup Ends, Missionary work resumes

Montese, Fortaleza
Elder first comp!
           Right now I'm in Montese, 7 de Setembro, and our chapel is where all of the missionaries come for the transfers. Neither I nor my companion were transferred, but we live like five minutes away so we decided to visit our friends in the mission. I got to see a ton of familiar faces, including my first MTC companion, Elder Whatcott.  Another couple of months and I'll probably know the entire mission! I made a couple of new planners for me and my companion.  The Jesus planner is mine and the Sparticus planner is my comps.

July 6, 2014
            I got to bear my testimony in fast and testimony meeting today.  This is something that I have tried to do every month as a missionary.  I like to share my testimony with the ward that I am serving in and you never know how many transfers you will have in one area, so I take advantage of the opportunity every month.  So far, I haven’t missed a single time on my mission.
P-day Selfie. I can take more pictures
now because my area is safe to carry a camera in.

July 7, 2014
            P-day was pretty fun.  We spent about a ½ hour trying to open the doors to the church so that we could use the computers for emailing.  Also we bought a couple fo lters of Coke…we love the stuff!  Elder M is going to put me on a diet and a training routine so we can get into shape.  The best part of my p-day was that I got to play the piano for a large part of our free time.  I thought it was worthwhile!

July 8, 2014                                       Brasil X Germany
            Woohoo!  Today was a successful prank day for me.  I freaked the others elders out with a dead chicken, a few candles, some popcorn, and a little music (from Echoes of the Sabbath).  I woke Elder M. up at 4 in the morning, and I think it left quite an impression on him!  It was all in preparation for our special BBQ plans for today.  As I was prepping the chicken, I found a little sack in the inside of the chicken with all the edible organs, including the CHICKEN HEAD (yes!) I have plans for that later.           
            So we are going to have another BBQ tonight while the Brasil game is on…. The  BBQ turned out AWESOME.  Sadly though, the game did not.  Brasil was already losing 4 x 0 before the first piece of meat left the grill.  We saw people crying in the streets because of what happened.  As everyone in the world knows, the game ended 7 x 1!  That is the worst loss that Brasil has every had AND it was in Brasil!  People aren’t so happy right now.  But, us missionaries are great because we had our barbeque and drank 15 liters of Coca Cola! 
            Later that night we had one of our investigators commit to baptism.  We have three investigators scheduled for next week, but we will see how it all works out for them. 
BBQ bellies!

July 9, 2014
            The chicken head in hanging from our showerhead was a success! Don't worry Mom, I always clean up my messes.
            I got my package!!! I already made the first cookies and the other Elders loved them!  I only burned the last batch…haha. Thanks for all the treats!
            Elder Tribino and I were on splits, and we were teaching on of his families.  The literally just showed up at church one day and wanted to be baptized.  There are 9 of them in one family!  Once they join, we will have to divide the primary and the young women’s program into more classes.  It is great!

July 10, 20141 YEAR MARK!
            This past year has been great overall.  I have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year.  I’m thinking a lot abut what I can do to make the most of it.  I was studying “The Priesthood Man” these past few weeks and I love what it says about what good heroes have in common, they have: a habit of prayer, service, and honesty. I had the opportunity to talk with our new Presidente, Presidente Bonini today.  One of the things that he told me is that I should turn my prayers into a more useful resource.  He said that when someone asks me when my last spiritual experience was, I shouldn’t have to think very hard because every prayer should be a spiritual experience.  So with those two sources of inspiration guiding me, I have decided to focus on improving my personal prayers.

Elder M. birthday sushi!

July 11, 2014
             One of the things that I am learning with Elder M is that we always have to talk about baptism, but we have to be smart about how we do it.  We need to help people feel the desire to change an then help them to understand that baptism is the first step to making that change. Today we had and interesting door approach.  We knocked on the door asking for Italo (a contact name that we were given)  Someone yelled back without answering the door that he wasn’t there.  As we were leaving we heard someone shout for us to come back.  This young lady (very pretty), opened the door and stared talking to us.  She was very interested in the church and committed to come to church on Sunday! That was a miracle to me.
My comp's turn to email at church!
July 12, 2014    Final World Cup game:  Germany X Argentina
            So this week we had a lot of cool experiences that testify that miracles are real. Miracles aren’t things that everyone sees today, especially in Brasil. There are a bunch of churches who preach miracles and cures and the like, but none of them teach how to have REAL peace that only the true gospel can bring. The gospel of Jesus Christ is what really brings to pass miracle in our lives.

What is a miracle?

For me, a miracle is some action some kind of manifestation from God.
Keeping that in mind, we can see lots of different tricks and shows and all sorts of ‘miracles’ that men do. All you need to do is go to Las Vegas and watch a magic show and you’ll think that people can work miracles and wonders. When I see people preaching miracles, blessings, cures, etc. in the name of Jesus Christ, I keep thinking back on the scripture Matthew 7:21-23:

 21 ¶Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
So what, then, is a real miracle? What is the will of the Lord?  That is something that we cannot discern only with our eyes. We have to go by our feelings. The Holy Ghost works mainly through our feelings and through our thoughts. It’s evident that the Devil can work ‘miracle’ and ‘wonders’ in the eyes of the beholder, but if we reflect on our thoughts and our feelings, there is a great difference between the two.
During my time as a missionary, I have had the chance to see a lot of miracles almost every day. However, these miracles hardly ever seem like miracles. What happens is that people change. The most simple and easy way that these miracles happen, is through a humble prayer. These prayers are what change people. By way of prayer, we can receive answers, help, comfort, and blessings from on high. I had a powerful experience with this past Saturday. Elder Moleiro and I were walking to one of our appointments, and we decided to eat a late lunch (our lunch had fallen through). I had already started a fast, but Elder Moleiro was hungry so we went to a Habib’s to eat. On the way there, we saw this little old lady leaning against the wall next to an apartment complex. She looked right at us as we passed by and Elder Moleiro later said that he felt some kind of feeling that we should talk with her, but when we realized what it was, we were already at the restaurant. After that we taught a lesson, and about an hour after we passed by the same spot and she was STILL there. We didn’t even hesitate. We started talking with her, and she started to cry. She said that she had been waiting there praying to God that he would send someone to help her. She went to church the next day and we talked with her a lot more and got to know her a little bit better. She’s 90 years old, and she said that she’s been sad for a really long time. She said that it had gotten to the point that she had forgotten how it felt to be happy. After she talked with us she told a member that after we had passed right in front of her, she had the strongest urge to be baptized. WHAT? Haha we hadn’t even talked with her, hadn’t even taught her anything, but she felt this feeling of peace and joy at church that she already knew that she would be baptized. She’s almost blind, but she was telling us that she didn’t need to see the church to know that it’s true. As we were leaving the church, she was asking us a bunch of questions, ‘is the church very big?’ or ‘what’s going on right now?’ we walked her through everything, even a baptism was going on after Sacrament meeting. Even though she couldn’t see what was going on, she could feel the Spirit really strongly.
I know that this really was a miracle that happened this weekend. This wasn’t chance, this wasn’t some kind of show, this was an act of God. I know that this church is true. I know that God doesn’t forget any of His children and the only thing that needs to happen is ask and He will bless us more than we can imagine. I hope that everyone has a great week and that each one of you has some kind of miracle that will happen in each one of your lives. I love you all and have a great week!

~Elder Colvin

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BBQing on the 4th of July

My camera miraculously started working again this week so I have some pictures to send.  I have been keeping it in a bag of rice to see if it would dry out from all of the humidity (my Mom's advice).  It must have worked!

June 27, 2014

Elder M, my new comp
            Well, my new comp is Elder M.  He is CRAZY for baptisms! Like we taught 6 lessons today and every one of them was about baptism.  EVERY one of them!  He also has this habit of saying “It isn’t us who is inviting, it is God. Are you going to ignore God?” of “Do you want to be saved? If you do, you have to be baptized.”  This is true of course, but to me it seems a little manipulative.  One thing for sure, is that he has a LOT of fire in him to preach baptism.  He is only out 6 months and he is from Sau Paulo.  He is an MMA athlete (mixed martial arts), and his attitude is a lot like every other fighter that I know. That being said,  I'm liking him and he's certainly teaching me a lot. He's a good missionary.
flexing his muscles
My district leader
            My District Leader is Elder L. Lopes.  He is from Joao Pessoa, Paraiba. He is known in the mission for his “beauty”. He is very well organized and is funny. The other elders in our house are Elder Lemos and Elder Tribino.  Elder Tribino is from Rio Grande de Sul, and has also been out for 6 months.  They all seem pretty cool.  This week is going a lot better. We're working super hard, and we're preparing some baptisms for this weekend. It's a little bit hard here because literally no one keeps their word here. Seriously, we'll mark a return visit, and there not even at home, or they're not interested and just didn't want to say it to our faces. It's super hard because we have to mark only days in advance, or they will forget that they marked a visit with us. More than 2 or 3 days and forget about it. But, it's going well down here. My companions are helping me a lot to learn about patience and humility. When I say that they're constantly bugging me. BUT, that's ok because I always find ways to get back at them ;) 
Elder Tribino
Elder Lemos

Elder Tribino
            We had a baptismal interview with a 9-year-old hyperactive kid.  We managed to get him to concentrate for a few minutes and I was surprised by some of the profound answers that he gave.  His Mom is not a member yet.  She is working on getting married first.  I am not too crazy about baptizing this kid before his parents…we’ll see.  I will just keep working.
             Presidente Bonini arrived today!

June 28. 2014                                                                                                        BRASIL X CHILE
            Well today was king of super annoying.  There was another World Cup match today and because Brasil was playing, we had to stay indoors at home.  After 2 hours, the game was 1 to 1, so they had to go into overtime.  It’s not like basketball where it’s just a couple of extra minutes.  The game didn’t end until 5 Pm (4 hours of game time).  Brasil won 3X2.  It was super funny because the game was suspenseful and our neighbor was gong crazy.  That is how we knew what was going on.  He was kissing his cross because he was so nervous. 
            We talked with a lot of people confirming that they will come to church on Sunday, but we basically didn’t get to teach anyone.  Kind of pathetic.  All of the missionaries want Brasil to lose so that our work can go back to normal. 
            Our 9-year-old investigator was baptized today.

June 29, 2014
            We had 6 people show up to church today.  Elder M. was really really sick today , but he didn’t want to call the new mission president’s wife because he was afraid that she would send him to the hospital and he doesn’t want to lose a day of work.  So we still managed to do some good work before church and had 2 confirmations.  I studied the talk “the Priesthood Man”.  I was surprised by a visit from Bishop Amorim from my old area.  He brought his son, Bruno because they never got the chance to say goodbye.  That was really nice of them to take time to come and see me. Also, I got about a 2-minute warning DURING the sacrament that I would be giving a talk.  YEP, that’s cool.

June 30, 2014
            This P-day SUCKED!  We cleaned the house, bought a ton of groceries…and that was basically it.  We tried to go to the chapel to play basketball, but we didn’t have the keys to the court, so then we tried to watch a movie, but we also didn’t have the keys to access the T.V.  The only good part of the day was the family night that we had with some recent converts and returned missionaries.  That was super fun.

July 1, 2014
            Man, when we teach a ton, I don’t have much to say!  The best lesson was with a 15 year old young woman who is really working hard to read what we give to her and ask questions about what she is reading.  It was a great lesson and she ended up promising us that she would come to church this week.
Reunion of my first household in Brasil
July 2, 2014
            We had our welcome conference for President Bonini today.  It was fun. Sister Evans, one of the senior missionaries here, had some information that she wanted to pass on, so she spoke in English while Elder Allen translated.  It has been so long since I have heard some good English mixed with humor from my culture.  I laughed so hard that I was almost crying.  For a greater part of the conference, Sister Bonini was talking about their conversion, their children, and their grandchildren.  President Bonini seems really cool. He is a lot like President Souza, but he might be even stricter.  I loved what he did with our missionary purpose.  He walked us through explaining the different principles of the gospel.  After faith, he said that next comes the most important part of our purpose.  He asked us what we thought that is and a ton of missionaries yelled “BAPTIZE!”  Oh boy…yeah…well Presidente said, NO.  It is repentance.  He talked about how we need to prepare people better for baptism.  That’s one thing that I have felt is really important throughout my mission and I am resolved to do better at proclaiming repentance and baptism for the remission of sins…the two together.  A lot of Elders just preach baptism and don’t even worry about people as long as they pass the baptismal interview.  We have to get better at helping people truly repent. 
            I have been thinking of lot about “becoming a man.” That seems to be my biggest worry this past week.  I have had a lot of ideas and advice from different people.  It is hard, because I don’t want to leave behind myself behind as I change, if that makes sense.  I need to develop my own character and I need to see and understand and be humble enough to accept my faults and try to change those that need to be changed.  But I also do not want to turn into a robot. I need to figure out how to still be me.

July 3, 2014
            So tomorrow is a Brasil x Columbia game and we’ve decided to have a BBQ.  Big time.  The other Elders resolved to play a prank on me by pretending that they were going to invite the neighbors and some members to come over for our BBQ.  First off, that’s a big no-no.  You can’t have people in the missionary’s house.  It’s breaking rules that are pretty simple and clear.  Anyways, they spent ½ hour trying to argue with me and justifying their reasoning.  I held firm (I knew that they were teasing me but they were carrying it pretty far.)  Finally, I just told them that I was calling the Presidente…then they gave in and told me it was a big joke.  Brazilian humor is different.
            Missionary news for the day includes teaching an 82 year-old lady who wants to be baptized.  It is pretty funny because we have to yell really loud when we teach her because she is nearly deaf.  She’s a super-nice old lady but all of the little boys on the street don't like her because she is old and ugly.  Even though she buys sweets for them, they still call her names.  I am glad that she can’t hear them. 

July 4, 2014 - The BBQ DAY!!!!                                                          BRASIL X COLUMBIA                        I can guarantee that there were more fireworks in Brasil today than in the U.S.!  The world cup is seriously crazy here.  We tried teaching people today, but it didn’t work out.  Basically the only thing we did was have our BBQ.  I took a lot of pictures.  We ate 6 pounds of meat and drank 8 liters of soda.  Yeah…it was fun.  Elder M. was our griller and he makes a mean (illegible Portuguese word).  I don’t even know what the cuts of meat are down here.  I think that it was a tri-tip.  Dad is going to have to teach me how to grill when I get home. 
Elder M, the BBQ King.

Digging in
Too much soda

July 5, 2014
            Today was another bad day.  We only taught 1 lesson, all of our appointments fell through, and I was fasting which is always hard for me, as you know.  On the bright side, we had our only lesson commit to baptism next week.  It has been a long process for her but she is almost there.                                    

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


 June 23, 2014
My camera started working after a month in a bag of rice! The first few pictures are pretty grainy.
         P-day was pretty boring this week.  We spent the first half of the day practicing “He ain’t heavy, he’s my Brother’ to sing at President Souza’s farewell.  It took a LONG time, but it finally worked out.  Then we spent the rest of our p-day cleaning the house and buying groceries. We talked with the Bishop’s son Bruno for a long time and then we had to stay indoors for the World Cup game. Afterwards we had dinner with the bishop. 
My game day shirt
June 24, 2014
         We got dropped by yet another investigator today. (shocker) But we did find a new investigator to teach.  We contacted him because I thought his dog was cool and he ended up listening to the Plan of Salvation and scheduled a return appointment.

June 25, 2014
         Today was the departure devotional for President Souza.  There were a lot of musical numbers sending him off.  I played “God be With you ‘til we Meet Again/He is Risen” and everything that could go wrong did.  The pages fell off the piano and when Sister Souza put them back up for me, she put the last page back upside down.  Oh my!  I continued playing and it worked out in the end.  The conference lasted until about 6 and we tried to work afterwards, but no one was at home.  So we ended up doing contacts with Evaldo.  We found this really drugged out lady and Evaldo was great about sharing his testimony with her despite her condition.  He is going to be a great leader in the church.

June 26, 2014
         I got transferred today …surprise!  I am really bummed about it, but it will all work out.  I am now in 7 de Septembro with Elder M. He is pretty thick headed.  He likes to baptize, a LOT. He does MMA and wants to train in the mornings. It will be interesting working with him.
         It will also be interesting to meet our new mission president.  I haven’t met him yet and I don't know anything about him.  I am told that he could be completely the opposite of our old president or anything in between.  The AP’s stay the same for a while to help the new president adjust.  Our old president had a lot of trust issues with missionaries because this was basically considered the Babylon of all missions before he got here so he basically cracked down on all of the missionaries and until now he doesn't let the missionaries go into malls, have zone p-days, etc.  He has been really really strict and very serious.

Sorry this update is so short.  This has been a weird week. I will be glad to get back to settle into my new area.