Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Carnaval/Chess/Crisis management/Piano overload/ and missionary work

February 16, 2015      
         P-day was super chill and pretty relaxing.  Mom sent me an email with pictures of the place where Taylor and I will be living during school.  It looks SUPER nice….and made me just a little bit trunky, but nothing that a little hard work can’t fix.  Anyways, today is part of Çarnaval, so that means that everything is closed, even the place where we buy our water.  Soooo, we are going to have to make our water last until Thursday.  We can just boil tap water. 
         I am learning about Elder Carmo.  We played chess for a couple of carnival hours.  I won 2 out of 3 matches, but this is the first time in my mission I have been beat by anyone!  Elder Carmo loves to read and spends most of his spare time reading the Book of Mormon.  He would rather read than do his exercises in fact.  He is a pretty serious and quiet person, but there are occasions where he comes out of his shell and surprises me.
         Elder Carmo and I are going to go to this special district leader training in Aldeota tomorrow.  Then next week the mission is doing a special musical presentation for a open house and Sister Evans is organizing it.  She found 3 pianists to help accompany.  When I told her that I did not have enough time to practice, she go really upset so I told her that I would do my best to help her. She originally planned for each pianist to play for 2 songs, but then she ended up giving me a 3rd song because the music was too hard for the other missionary.  It IS HARD, and I don’t know how I am going to have the time to learn it in a week!
February 17. 2015
         Wow, training today was different and very cool.  President Bonini got side tracked very easily and would go off on random tangents (like how to have good personal hygiene in the bathroom.)  But, his main emphasis was that we should be the examples for the other missionaries to follow.  We are called as “captains” of the army.  Also, President changed the organization so that most of the work that used to be done by the zone leaders will now be done by the district leaders.  Lots of the grunt work was transferred like retrieving mail and supplies from the office, and organizing our separate district meetings which replace a lot fo the zone meetings.  Basically being a zone leader now is just a matter of G.H. (I asked my returned Brazilian missionary what G.H. meant and she told me that it is kind of like having prestige in a self-righteous way.)  The biggest thing that I got out of the meeting was that we are called to serve, uplift, support, and drive our districts. 
         Today we taught a super confusing lesson.  We planned to meet up with our ward mission leader and our super strong investigator at the home of one of our struggling investigator’s homes.This investigator has been having troubles with just about everything we teach her, so we decided to just focus on the basics: Faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  But what should have been simple was far from it.  She had a lot f problems with understanding the gift of the Holy Ghost, but our stronger investigator made some really great comments and really learned a lot from the lesson. 
February 18, 2015
         Today we actually had a zone training meeting…the ones that we are told are going to be decreased.  I learned a little better how to prepare someone to be baptized.  We were taught something completely different from what my trainer taught me.  Our zone leaders told us that we should be helping our investigators to prepare for baptism from the very beginning of out lessons.  My trainer taught that we should only invite investigators to be baptized AFTER they had received an answer to their prayers and knew the church was true.  Haha, now that I am more experienced, I fully realize how bad of a trainer he was.  My zone leader, Elder Muniz (who was also in my first zone), was telling me that basically I had to train myself with my trainer being who he is.  Recently my trainer moved back to the Fortaleza area so that he could be near a high school girl from his last area…boa sorte. 
         Anyways, tonight we taught E. and N. and they are doing really well.  Her foot is healing nicely and hopefully she can come to church soon.  We had a good lesson about the 10 commandments especially the part about only worshipping God.  One of the problems that a lot of our investigators have is they like to pray to the Virgin Mary. This is a hard thing for N. to understand and to stop.
         We also taught a lesson to a less active member tonight who told us all about how he was watching some of the Carnaval parades in Rio.  He said, “you know it is actually super cool if you could take out the naked feathered ladies.”  Anyway, I can see why the church puts a lot of effort into taking the youth of the church out of the “world” for the week of Carnaval. 
February 19, 2015
         Almost everything fell through today.  I guess that it was just one of those days.  We were teaching M. and M. (the reactivated member’s boys), about family history and it was super hard because they just kept goofing off.  My comp. didn’t help much when the boys got off on a tangent of ancestors being dinosaurs., and then Elder C. said, “Yeah, you definitely look like your ancestors.” They laughed, a LOT, all three of them.  Elder C. is 27, but oh he acts like a kid sometime.  Sometimes I miss Elder Ferrao.
February 20, 2015
         Today we visited people with J.V. and N. (the two young men who are recent converts) and that was a big mistake.  If we take them in the future it will have to be one at a time because they just mess around. We visited with a less active member and had a good lesson about faith.  I am really hoping that he will start coming back to church.  His biggest problem is that he works on Sundays, but his nonmember wife is interested in learning more about the gospel.  That visit went well with the two boys, but the other visit was kind of funny.  It is interesting to watch the youth and how they just go and go and then they just stop out of nowhere.  It was hard to give continuity to the lesson, but in the end it worked out okay.
         We visited with a recent convert family tonight as taught them how to make tapioca. They thought that it was hilarious that an American man was teaching them how to make a Brazilian cultural food.  Elder L. Lopez taught me how to do it and now I am pretty good at it.  Brazilian tapioca is almost like a crepe. 
February 21, 2015
         We found a really cool young couple today.  We have been teaching one other the other of them for a long time, but today we got to teach both of them.  They have a super-cute little kids who loves to talk (think Levi when he was little.)  He is only 1 ½ years old so no one can understand him, but he just chatters away.
         We had an answer to prayer today when we felt we should go and visit with R.  Turns out that she was really desperate for help because her son’s meds ran out and he started having more seizures.  Apparently, they don’t make the medicine anymore that helped to control his seizures.  This was the first one in 4 years and it was a pretty bad one.  After his big seizure,  the young man asked his mom to call the Elders to give him a blessing, and right after that we showed up at their house. It is moments like that that remind me why I am on a mission.
February 22, 2015
Rain soaked Elders!
         Stupid rain!  Whenever it rains, everyone stays inside which makes contacting hard to do.  We got pretty wet looking for investigators who were sleeping.  My shoes that used to be waterproof aren’t anymore.  There are some holes in them and I am just hoping that they can hold out another 3 months.   
Will these shoes last another 3 months?
          M. came to church again today and she said that she believes that the church is true, but that she didn’t understand why she should be baptized.  She asked us, “How is it that even if I am a good person, charitable, obey God’s commandments, that I cannot be saved without baptism?”  We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and also a little bit about baptism for the dead.  Then all of a sudden, she got really interested and then she said that she knows that God wants her to be baptized and she will prepare herself. 
         Church was really good this week.  Another two of our investigators came.  We were all very entertained by a little sparrow that flew into sacrament meeting and landed on the chorister’s head, twice.  Then for his finale, the little bird flew in for the closing prayer.
         We taught an interesting couple today.  He is 34 and she is 18, and they are living with a member.  They were having a hard time because she lost her phone so she called her number and a guy answered it and gave them an address to come and pick it up.  The only problem is that the address is in one of the most dangerous parts of the city.  Nobody wanted them to go, but she jumped on the back of her boyfriend’s motorcycle and said, “If I am going to die, I am going to die with him!”  Yeah, not too smart.
         Then tonight we had another interesting situation happen when a drunk guy called us over to talk to him.  He said, “I am going to kill someone right now.  I have the gun and my motorcycle, and this guy is flirting with my wife.  I want to kill him, what do you say?” He was super agitated and if we hadn’t been there to calm him down, I think that he would have done it.  Even after we had been there for a while, the police came to visit his neighbors and stopped to see if there was anything that they could do to help.  I just thought, “Man, God is sending you a LOT of support right now, don’t do this thing.” It was an intense ending to our Sabbath night.
         Oh and on another note, Sister Evans called me tonight to tell me that there was another pianist who backed out of the program because the music was too hard.  So, I guess that I will be playing another 2 pieces. All of the good pianists in our mission were sister missionaries from my group and they have gone home.  I hope that I have time to practice.
Elder Dornales is more addicted to Rubix than any of us.
Post script:  I received an email this week from Sister Evans relaying to me that Elder Colvin finally got his sister’s camera!!!!! It took three months, but it finally made it and now he can take a few more pictures of the last part of his mission. He has been without a camera for about 6 months. Thankfully, he has had housemates who have let him take a few pictures with their cameras. 

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