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.                                    

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