Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sabbath Day - the hardest lesson

Typical encounter during the day.  Donkeys just roam the streets here.
Friendly little donkeys,  Usually they are afraid of people, but we got along great!

A giant icecream cone
March 9, 2014
         We ended up playing a lot of basketball with some Brazilians who actually know how to play!  Elder Andersen and I were still the best, but there were some guys who weren’t too far behind.  During the game, one of my glass lenses popped out, but I was able to put it back in.  I ended up playing most of the game without my glasses, which was a challenge.  In the end, we had what we called “a religious conflict”, missionaries vs. home team.  We won!  With Elder Dorneles playing it was a big enough handicap that it was actually hard to win. 
         We had 4 appointments marked for tonight, but not a single one worked out.  That is totally normal, but a really frustrating start to our week.
March 10, 2015
         So last transfer I asked President Bonini if we could have a special training about planning more efficiently.  Today he sent the mission assistants to train us on this topic and it really helped me and my district.  We had a bunch of good lessons today.  One of our couples read about Lehi’s vision of the tree of life in The Book of Mormon by themselves.  They had many good questions and are progressing a lot, but it is like pulling teeth trying to get them to go to church. 
         We also had a good lesson with another couple about the law of chastity and they both said that they would live the law in preparation for baptism. 
March 11, 2015
         Elder Muniz was at my district meeting today.  Today was his last day on the mission, so we trunked ourselves out a little bit. He was with me in the very start, and now he is leaving.  It is kind of scary how time flies by.  He is planning on studying at BYU so we will definitely see each other afterwards.  He speaks English really well.  I am going to miss him a ton.  He has been a great friend and zone leader.
         We taught M. again today ad she is so hung up on the whole marriage thing.  She already lives the law of chastity and the word of wisdom, and she attends church meetings regularly.  She is sure that she wants to be baptized, but she is still holding off.  We took a member couple there and it worked out really well.  They have a pretty strong relationship and they definitely helped to settle her fears.
March 12, 2015
Most streets here are either dirt or cobblestone.
         I don’t know why, but for some reason we started teaching people who live right next to the canal (ie. open sewage drain).  I found this one road while out working one day and it turns out that several families live there.  They are very poor, but very nice people.  This one little family that we are teaching lives in a 12X12 brick box with their 3 little girls.  There is nothing in the states that compares to the poverty here.  It is humbling.
         We had another appointment with a woman whose husband greeted us by shouting, “Did you come to hear the word of God?” and a bunch of other stuff from his church. All the while he is yelling a the top of his lungs, and I am just like, “oh brother.”  Then he asks us for our Bible to read a scripture and I he read:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
We explained that scripture a bit to him, but he just kept yelling .  So then I showed him
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
In Portuguese ‘clamour’ is “gritaria’ and it was super funny because once I pointed out that he had done nothing buy yell at us, he toned his voice down to almost a whisper.
March 13, 2015
         Today I went on splits with Elder T. Anderson and it went pretty well.  A ton of appointments fell through, but we managed to teach some super cool people.  There was this one family in particular that stood out.  They have a 6 month old Rottweiler and I have decided that I love that breed.  The lesson went smoothly and they accepted the message of the Restoration readily.  They even committed to baptism.  When we got back together with the other missionaries, we asked how their lesson with M. went and it went really well.  We studied this morning for her and picked 5 talks specifically for her to read from the last general conference.  I hope that it will help her.  The other elders only did 10 contacts today.  It is hard for them because they are both junior companions and it is a skill that you just get better at with practice and time. Also, neither one of them are all that excited about the work.  This week I have been working hard to contact and we average about 16-17 per day.  That is pretty good.  One of the interesting things about trying to talk to absolutely everyone is that we find a LOT of inactive members who are not on the membership list from church.  Well this week just flew by.  Tomorrow we have  very busy day planned with appointments schedules for every half hour of the entire day. It is going to be crazy if everyone keeps their appointment.
March 14, 2015
         I am tired of appointments falling through, but on the bright side, only half of them fell today so that still left us with plenty of work to do.  First of all we taught the English class.  Right now we have 3 students who are regulars.  None of the members are interested at all.  We worked really well today, but we only had a couple of good lessons.  We taught a less-active member’s daughter’s boyfriend and he really liked the lesson.  We invited him to be baptized and he said really softly, “I think so, maybe.”  He said that he would come to church tomorrow, so we will see about that.
         Also we taught another less active member’s girlfriend.  This kind of thing happens a lot.  This couple is progressing a lot.  They have quit smoking, they are reading and understanding scriptures, but they are not coming to church.  They always have plans for Sunday.  What can we do?  It is odd that it is easier for people here to give up a serious addiction than it is for them to keep the Sabbath day holy.  They already told us that they won’t be there tomorrow because they have plans to celebrate a birthday.
March 15, 2015
         Ever since we contacted M. she hasn’t missed a single Sunday!  We haven’t had to go and get her a single time.  She even showed up in the pouring rain when half of the members didn’t even come.  I hope that she decides to get baptized soon because I will really feel sad if I get transferred and miss being there for that.
         Today we brought a 13 year old investigator to church along with her 10 year old cousin.  I really hate bringing kids to church without their parents.  On the plus side, when we got to church, two f the young women basically took care of them for the entire church block.  The young women were so amazing, they even set up for the 13 year old to attend mutual with them. This was a little miracle for us.
         Then we had a real miracle happen when we were teaching. and L.  C. is very serious about studying the Book of Mormon.  She takes it to work with her so that she can read on her breaks. L. has been inactive for a long time, but with the energy and enthusiasm of C, he is coming along.  She has told us that she is praying for an answer about whether to get baptized.  The next lesson will be on the law of chastity, which will be hard since they are not married and living together.         

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