Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Losing Steam


My breakfast
My companion's breakfast
April 20, 2015
         P-day was hard today.  We didn’t have anything to do from 2 until 6:00 pm and I got sick of playing the guitar.  That is how bad it was.  Elder S. knew how to get into the other companionships house so we went over there and messed with a couple of things in the front of their apartment.  We also met up with the young men in the ward while they were selling clothes to help with a fundraiser for a temple trip.  They already had made $100 when we saw them, which is really good!  Also, our district leader had an emergency transfer today and he was really badly shaken up about it.  I could only support him and encourage him to work as hard as he could where he is going so that he finishes his mission strong.  Lucky for him, he is going to a good area, but he is going to be a junior comp.  I told him that I knew how that felt and that he just had to work hard and everything will work itself out in the end.
April 21, 2015
         We found a good family a while back and they continue to be interested in learning about the gospel.  We talked about baptism today and they said that they want to know for sure before they will be baptized, but that they want to work towards that goal.  The dad might start working on Sunday mornings, but I am praying that he won’t have to do that. Other than that, we did a lot of contacts today.  Sadly, I have to be the “go-to” in the trio, which means that I have to either, do all of the contacts myself, or I have to send the other two elders to do them.  The new district leader seems super energetic so I hope that he can help me out.
April 22, 2015
         Okay, district meeting was rather weird/fun.  It was a really good training, but it was weird because as the new DL was giving his training, he kept looking at me seriously like staring at me while occasionally flitting his gaze to other people.  He has been out only about 11 months and his companion is from Chile.  Elder S. had a really hard time with our new leader, but I think he is a good hard working elder.
         After the meeting we taught a TON of really good people.  R. who came to church last week and has a strong interest in learning what all the commandments are.  His wife is not all that interested, but I think that is because of past trouble that she has had with other churches.  Then we taught F., who is a referral from other elders and he accepted a baptismal date on our first lesson.  He literally said, “I think that I have not found the yet because I haven’t been to yours!” After his lesson we taught the young men and S. , who also came to church on Sunday.  We taught the restoration and the lesson went very well.  However, we need to get on a more personal level with S. so that we can figure out what exactly he needs.  All of the youth are helping him, which is good news! 
         On the bad side of things, one of my companions is struggling with motivation.  I have been trying to help him, but then I thought I saw him flip me off.  So I asked him if he did, and he proceeded to give me the finger right in my face….while we were walking along the road. Great example huh?  We also didn’t do hardly any contact so that added to my stress.
My comp hanging out on my bed.
What rain does to these big feet!
April 23, 2015
         So we didn’t have a whole lot planned for today, so we (more like I) were determined to contact a LOT of people.  I set a goal for us to contact 8 people each by the end of the day.  In the end, we only had 12 contacts.  When I told that to the DL, Elder S.  corrected me and said, “No, WE didn’t have 12 contacts, but Elder Colvin had 12 contacts.”  Seriously, it is like they have just given up.  It is really hard when you have one companion who is just plain tired out, and the other who is so introverted that he can’t talk to strangers.
         Our new convert, M., is going great!  She is studying like crazy to learn everything about the church that she can.   
April 24, 2015
         We had lunch today with the H. family and they have a son who left on his mission a couple of months back, so they (especially the mom) have very mixed feelings about missionaries.  One moment they love us, and the other, they can’t stand the sight of us because it reminds them of their son.  Super funny thing: their son sent home a sweaty p-day shirt so that his mom could SMELL his smell again.  Yeah, that’s right.  The culture here in Ceara is a little different than what I am used to.  For example, I am pretty sure that my mom is very happy to have a 2-year break away from my sweaty t-shirts!    There is no other state in Brazil (that I know of)  that does this, but I think it is kind of animal-like.  I mean all animals have this thing about sniffing each other, but I have never seen that before in humans, at least not consciously.
         We tried to go teaching again with the young man who has received his mission call, but he said that he was too tired from work to go out with us.  He was the one who set the appointment up in the first place.  Yeah, he is going to have a hard time on his mission.
April 25, 2015
         Okay, I have had it. Today was one of the WORST days of my entire mission, and I have had some pretty bad days so that is saying something.  We didn’t teach anyone today. Not a single person.  I tried contacting people, but failed miserably.  The first guy we tried to contact yelled at us because he said that miracles are impossible and that Jesus was just an ordinary man.  Then the next people we contacted were from the Universal Church and were very rude and closed off.  Then we met a Spiritist lady who gave us the whole charity talk about how we shouldn’t judge others.  I agreed with her and testified that we follow Christ’s doctrine.  As we were almost out of earshot, she told the other people in her group that we were all going to Hell….so much for being nonjudgmental.  What is really crazy is that Spiritist don’t even believe in Hell.  We should have tried contacting more people, but I gave up.  I have no support from the other two missionaries who don’t even try to contact people.  It is an energy sucking experience.
         There was only one bright side of the day that happened just by chance as we were passing by the store owned by a less active member,  C. Earlier in the week, I set an alarm on her phone to help her remember to pray.  Ever since then, she has been reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and she paid her tithing (which she has never done before).  We didn’t actually teach her a lesson, but it sure brightened my awful day. 
Feeling trunky
April 26, 2015
I am WIPED OUT!  We had a bunch of people say that they would come to church and, SHOCKER, no one came.  We went looking for all of them, some were working, others “weren’t home”,  and others just didn’t want to come.  I don’t know what happened to S.?  On the bright side, I had all 3 of my recent converts and 2 less active families come to church today.  I had one of my comps passing notes to our recent young female convert which didn’t set well with anyone.  I had some members talk to me about stopping that from happening again. That is always a fun conversation to have with your companion who likes to flip you off.  Another interesting thing happened in church today when this brother got up to say the prayer (he also served a mission). This is what he said,  "We thank thee O God for a prophet, who guides us in these latter days…” He said almost the entire first verse of the hymn as his first part of the prayer. Funny, huh?
         After church, once again with no help from my companions, I talked to some more super disinterested Catholics. AND THEN, it was ward council (remember the council that the stake presidency has asked that each ward should hold weekly? Well, the missionaries and the ward mission leader were the only ones who showed up.  I felt like that was the moment that I just kicked the bucket.  It is one of the first times on my mission that I felt like I was aimlessly walking. I am totally drained.  Thankfully it is p-day tomorrow and I get to email with my family.  I do have a special conference coming up with Elder D. Todd Christofferson, which I hope will help me finish this mission on a positive note.
April 27, 2015 (written in email early Monday morning)
Okay, so I'm a lot better right now because my recent convert wrote me and email this morning (Evaldo) and he thanked me for everything and gave me an update on how he's been and it was exactly what I was needing right now to keep my head in the right place.
I am looking forward to my skype call in just TWO WEEKS...!!!





Saturday, April 25, 2015

Baptism!


MY NEW(sort of) SHOES!!! I took them to a shoe guy, and he fixed them up really nicely. These are the same shoes that i sent pictures of with giant holes in the bottom. I'm very happy.
April 13, 2015
Picking up the contact lenses actually didn’t take that long, but we still didn’t get back until 12:00 so that was annoying.  Also, I almost threw up on the bus ride home.  Seriously, the buses here are crazy.  I never got car sick, but this gets me bad.  We met up with Elder L. Lopes in Elder Shelton’s old area because I went to fix my other pair of shoes.  Bad news, it was raining like crazy!  Sadly, umbrellas only protect you from the waist up.  The rain is so strong that your pants get soaked.  Anyways, I took my shoes to the repair shop and the other Elders will pass by there and pick them up later.
The mission secretaries asked me to give them pictures of me to put in the slideshow that they put on for the missionaries who are leaving.  As I was looking through old pictures I saw a conversation that I had with my mom a long time ago about my good shoes having a warranty.  I hope that warranty will still work because those shoes are destroyed but I really like them. (Turns out that the warranty was still in effect and Mr. Mac sent me brand new shoes to mail to Elder Colvin!)
        Work today was pretty much a total fail, everything fell through.  Even the recent convert forgot about our appointment…ughh! 
April 14, 2015
         We finished teaching everything to M. today, and she is a little bit nervous about her baptism, but she is super ready. We also were able to teach our recent convert and help him with some concerns that he is having. 
April 15, 2015
         Missionaries can be kind of annoying sometimes.  Elder Cooper changed the baptism interview to an hour earlier at the last minute so we had to try to get a hold of M. to tell her.  We couldn’t find her anywhere. We checked her apartment, the lan house, her friend’s house, and finally her sister’s house where we found out that she was actually babysitting.  We were able to talk with her and she had enough time to make it to the interview before she had to pick up her babysitting kids from school at 3:30.
         On our way to the stake center we saw a guy try to steal a lady’s purse.  Actually, he was on a motorcycle with his girlfriend and he just reached out and grabbed the purse.  Luckily for the lady her strap broke and she ended up with the purse in her hands.  We kept hurrying on to the stake center and made it there at 2:40 so that gave her about 40 minutes before she had to leave to pick up the kids.  Then we started the waiting, and the waiting, and the waiting.  M. asked me about every three minutes what time it was because she was nervous that she would have to leave to pick up the kids. Well finally the district leaders showed up at 3:20…but by that time we didn’t have time for the interview. So I arranged to have the DL’s go to the our chapel after M. picked up the kids and meet us there. Unfortunately the DL got lost and he didn’t show up until 4:40.  Then he spent over an hour in the interview….in the end, it all worked out and M. is ready for her baptism on Friday.
April 16, 2015
         Today we had interviews with President Bonini and he basically confirmed what my Mom said was the reason for our trio.  He told me that it is necessary for not and he told me to just be patient.  Yeah. I also talked to him about the problems that we are having with getting people to follow through with commitments.  He didn’t really have any solid solutions for me, but he did explain why this happens so much in Brazil.  It is because people here see “church” as the end of everything when it comes to God. You just have to join a church but you don’t have to actually attend church.  We are trying to teach them that there is much more to it than that and it is culturally hard for them to accept that.  Anyway, the interviews took WAY TOO LONG.  We were supposed to go in at 10:30 and we didn’t end up getting called in until 12:00.  That meant that we didn’t get home until 3:30. 
April 17, 2015
         We found a pretty cool family today, but the only problem is that the father works on Sundays right now.  That is one of the hardest problems to overcome when it comes to getting people to church.  Other than that, they seemed very open and I invited them to be baptized.   
         In other good news, M. was baptized today!  The service took a while because the bishop likes to talk a LOT.  Bishop talked about exaltation in his welcome to the ward spheal, and he bascially interviewed her before she got baptized. He does that and it almost seems like he tries to scare them out of being baptized by saying 'this is a really serious thing that you're about to do, are you sure you want to do it?' We only ever baptize that say yes, so it's no big deal.
M. chose me to perform the ordinance and everything turned out well.
M.'s baptism was this week and the youth have really helped us out a lot with her. She was a little nervous, but it all went down without a hitch.
The trio!
April 18, 2015
         Today we have been visiting people with the young men in the ward.  Everything fell through except until we started working with Denis.  He has been a member for a little over a year now and he told us that he had just finished his first 24 hour fast!  So with him along for the lessons, every single one of them worked out AND they all ended up giving us food!  One of our less active members talked to us about how she never remembers to pray.  So I asked her if I could set an alarm on her phone so that she could remember.  I think that will work for her because she is in love with her cell phone.  We have a lot of investigators and less active members who struggle with wasting time with electronics, as well as getting mixed up with inappropriate content. I am really glad that my mom and dad were strict about limiting our use of electronics, especially video games, ipods, and cell phones.  I am pretty sure that I will be just as strict.
April 19, 2015
         So one thing that I didn’t write in my journal was when I felt inspired to contact this guy on the other side of the street a couple of days ago.  The only problem was that he was going the opposite direction.  I told Elder Shelton and Elder Carmo, “Hold up, I am going to contact that guy.”  He was walking really super fast and I basically had to chase him down.  I have to admit that I was a little disappointed because it wasn’t one of those “WOW” contacts.  But, it turned out that he is friends with Denis, and Denis brought him to church today!  He is super shy, but the youth in the ward really welcomed him and he seemed to really like church.  M. was confirmed today and we had a pretty good turnout.  Also, the stake leadership here said that we need to start having ward council meetings every week and that the missionaries are supposed to be in charge of it….WHAT?  Okay…so today we had our first ward council meeting and we brought a video to share and planned to discuss the needs of our investigators.  But, the bishop had other plans and he didn’t want to talk about our work so we just sat and watched the video.  We did talk about strengthening recent converts a little bit, but there weren’t any concrete plans made to help anyone.  We were pretty discouraged until we met up with our recent convert N.   He was excited to tell us about a surprise plan that the young men have to help Denis go to the temple with his mom this summer.  The young men are going to sell clothes to get money to pay for Denis to go to Recife.  This little bit of news made me feel hope for the future of the church here in this area.  I love the youth here!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Some more of the same


                                           video
April 3, 2015

         I will say it again: I hate holidays. They suck.  Everyone here is drunk in the streets. The only difference about Sexta-fieva santa is that they are all drunk on wine instead of beer.  Not even joking.  Wine is cheaper than grape juice here.  Sad. 

         We had a bunch of people tell us that they wanted to come to church and that they would, but we will see about that.  We did have this super cool contact where this guy had a flat tire and he was really struggling.  We passed by him, but then I said, hey let’s see if he wants some help.  He gratefully accepted our help, but in the end we couldn’t help at all because their car’s spate tire has one of those master locks and it just wouldn’t come off.  Anyways, he was super friendly and we gave their reference to the missionaries in their area.

April 4, 2015

         Wow, conference was awesome.  I thought that it was kind of funny that almost all of the talks were about marriage, especially in the first session which was the one that my family attended in SLC.  Our investigator, M. went to both Saturday sessions and to the Women’s session rebroadcast on Friday night.  She took a bunch of notes so that was good to see. I  have reached a point in my Portuguese that I can take notes in Portuguese as I am listening.  Sometimes, when the English speakers speak quickly, the translators also have to talk very quickly to catch up, and then it is hard to take notes.  But when Boyd K. Packer spoke, it was super easy because he spoke very slowly and I could understand the Portuguese translator without a problem.  I loved his talk about the cookies and a kiss…only problem is that I brought cookies to the conference with me so the other elders gave me a hard time.

         After the last session, we taught M. She showed us her notes and the answers to questions that we asked her last time we met.  This time there were no hearts or poems next to my name!  She loved conference and said that she would bring her little sister to the Sunday sessions.

April 5, 2015

         M. is our only investigator who keeps her commitments.  We seriously were running after these investigators today and no one came to conference.  The stake center is about 30 minutes walking distance from our area, and we left to try to get people to come after each session.  No one else came.  Yeah, we are going to have to drop a bunch of people because they will not keep commitments.  But, M and her little sister did come to all the sessions today  The little sister has never been baptized into any church, but she has expressed interest in the past in being  baptized too. 

         I have all of my notes about conference written down in another notebook, but my favorite talk from all the sessions was President Uchtfdorf’s talk about Grace.  This morning I studied that topic and I had been reading the same scriptures that Presient Uchtdorf shared in his talk.  It really touched me. 

         I also thought that it was hilarious when Ucthdorf started talking in German.  I could actually understand the Spanish speaking guy and then when President Uchtdorf got up to speak, I couldn’t understand him and I thought wow, I have lost my English completely!

April 6, 2015

         Well I am sick and tired of this whole contact lens thing with Elder Shelton.  We have to go BACK again next p-day.  It is ridiculous and a huge time waster.  Ever since he got here, we haven’t been able to have a normal p-day.  On the bright side, we got a free haircut from our investigator.  That was nice because my hair was getting really long.  Anyways, with M. we are just trying to draw out the lessons to fill the time until her baptism.  We left her to read D&C 76 this week. 

April 7, 2015

         Today I went on splits with Elder Cooper.  It was alright, but we did a couple of things that I wasn’t so comfortable with.  It was just his teaching style which was taught to him by his other companion.  One thing that they do is pray with their contacts so they can “count” it as a lesson.  Our president told us that we shouldn’t say prayers or try to count contacts like a lesson.  So yeah, I didn’t feel so hot about that.  Anyways, other than that we did really well. We are both ancient in the mission and we both teach well, and I LOVED working in a pair for a change.  One of the annoying things though is that President Bonini called a last minute meeting in Aldeota at 8:00 am.  It takes at least an hour to get there. So we have to finish our divisions by 6 or 6:30.  That means that we have to wake up about 5 am tomorrow.

April 8, 2015

         Well we got to the bus stop at 6:20 and the other elders waited for us until 6:19 and then went back home. So, I had to go to the meeting with the same clothes on that I had on yesterday.  This meeting turned out to be really good and super annoying at the same time.  I was all about our responsibility to get results for the Lord.  For 3 HOURS…yeah, 3 HOURS of listening to our assistants pounding their chests and telling us how hard they work.  But I have passed through their areas and I know that they only have one active convert out of 17 baptisms.  I have also had zone leaders brag about the same thing, telling us how you shouldn’t go even one week without a baptism.  The annoying part is that everyone knows that those two elder baptized a LOT of kids under the age of 12 and a LOT of girls and that when they leave the area none of their converts stay active.  These kind of elders are annoying especially because they usually don’t keep all the rules and they still get results?!  I work my tail off, and keep all the rules, and I see almost no results. 

         Well the meeting was so long that we didn’t have time to go back to our area for lunch.  So, I ended up paying for Elder Cooper at Burger King.  The plus side to that was that there were a lot of other elders there and the restaurant let us use our coupons.  I love coupons!  We got to talk with a bunch of the other elders and I ate lunch with Elder J. Silva. That was nice to catch up and it turns out that he is living with Elder Nogueira and Elder Yarrington, my two “sons” in the mission.  I could only imagine how that would work out.  They both get super stressed, super easy.  Kindof funny how three of the four elders in that house have been my companions.  I heard that Elder N. and Elder Y. got in an argument because Elder Y. wanted to study Spanish for some reason, so Elder N. argued with him that he shouldn’t be studying Spanish when he still couldn’t speak Portuguese.  “You need to study your mission language!”  It’s kind of funny.  When we finally got off the splits we visited with a bunch of people and also dropped them.  That was sad for me.  No we have almost no investigators.

April 9, 2015

         We had our zone training today, and it was actually really good.  Our new zone leader is Elder Wood and he is a good leader. His family sent Easter chocolates so that helped make the meeting even better!  This meeting was Elder Medrado’s last one. (I love that guy) and a couple of other missionaries first zone meeting.  Elder Guilherme (or Barros da Silva) was excited as always, but now a little bit more because he is finally not the newest in the mission anymore! 

April 10, 2015

         Just as an example of how non-commital Brazilians are, there is this member who is waiting for his mission call who has promised to go teaching with us three times this week and has stood us up all three times!  It is bad enough when investigators flake out, but member?  That is just cruel.  M. is still doing well but there is this drama thing in the ward about dating and it is just all very confusing to try to understand a teenaged girl’s world.  Fortunately the drama is not stopping her interest in the gospel.  She said that she is having a hard time because all of her friends abandoned her ever since she started coming back to church.  But she is very committed and has attended all of her meeting including seminary.

April 11, 2015

         So almost all of the teacher’s quorum members have set goals to serve missions and so we are planning to have them come and teach with us on Saturdays.  They are a pretty dedicated group of young men.  I don’t remember being that dedicated at a teacher.

April 12, 2015

         Today in sacrament meeting, the bishop read a list of the names of members whose temple recommends have expired, or are about to expire.  I am pretty sure that you can’t or shouldn’t do that.  One of our strongest recent converts didn’t come to church today.  We stopped by to see him and he said that he was thinking about leaving the church.  His brothers are always looking at porn, which his mom supports, and they make fun of him for going to church.  We talked to him and helped him through it, I hope.  I am tired…so very tired.  And then there is the issue of my shoes which are all passed the expiration point.  I took them to a different repair man and he was appalled at the repair the other guy did.  I am hoping to be able to get my Mr. Mac shoes replaced and then I will just repair my other cheap pair.  I am especially not looking forward to riding the bus all the way to Aldeota tomorrow. It has been miserably hot and raining which is a weird combination.  At the end of the day, my feet look like this:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Conference Week


March 30, 2015
         So, we had a miracle today!  M. stopped us and said that she wants to come to church ad be baptized now.  Okay, that’s cool.  It turns out that her dad is a member and her sister is planning on serving a mission.  I didn’t know that the entire time we have taught her!  She wrote out an explanation about chastity and it was really well done. At the top of the page she wrote “rumo ao batismo” which means “to the baptism” or “onward to baptism.”  On the downside, A.’s dad prohibited us from teaching her or allowing her to come to church. He said, “ While she is under my dominion, she will learn what I want her to learn.”   I told him that we would respect his choice, but that he would be responsible for what happens at the last day.  I don’t think that he really understood me. Her mom really liked us teaching her and we told her mom that anytime they needed help or wished to come, they were welcome at church.
March 29, 2015
         We had a ton of people who committed to come to church NOT come after all-not a big surprise.  But, F.E. And M. all came.  I guess that if you want to have people come to church you have just got to make a LOT of invitations.  People just do not keep their word here and it is no big deal when they don’t. Annoying.  And, our bishop talked and talked and talked about garments during the combined hour.  Brazilians like to talk about temples, baptism for the dead, garments, and exaltation A LOT!  (All of the most difficult topics to teach to our investigators.)
The mall where Elder S. had his eye appointment.  We normally are not allowed to go here.
March 30, 2015
         Today we spent 3-4 hours waiting for Elder Shelton to do his eye exam and this was in Aldeota where the commute alone is a huge time killer.  Then we played basketball which is always great for me!
         When we taught M. we found out that she is obsessed with me.  Well, I am not sure why because I am flabby and all of my clothes are stained and torn, but oh well.  She wrote on the front of her Book of Mormon “Garrison Colvin I love you.” OPA!  That is scary for an elder.  On the bright side, I think that she is studying the gospel with real interest.  She marks her Book of Mormon, attends seminary, and comes to church by herself an hour early.  I am making sure that Elder C. and Elder S. sit on each side of me as a “baracade” during our lessons.  You can never be too safe!
March 31, 2015
         Happy Birthday to Bailey!  I forgot to write something to her yesterday.  I have actually thought about her a lot on the misson.  I hope that she can have a good birthday. 
         We taught that couple who had the amazing miracle happen and they said that they would not come to church this week because they were tired.  Ugh, the wife has no semblance of a testimony.  But the husband said that they would go when he regains a little more of his strength. 
         We taught M. again and she wanted to be able to respond to the questions at the back of the pamphlets that we give to her but she doesn’t have a D&C so she asked us for one.  We don’t actually have them to give away.  But he got one from seminary to use.  She likes to write paragraph summaries to answer the questions so she bought a notebook to have enough room to write her thoughts. 
         We gave a dedicated Book of Mormon to a less active sister today and she was extremely grateful because she lost her copy a long time ago.
April 1, 2015
         We revisited that same sister we gave the Book of Mormon to and we were able to talk to her husband as well.  He drinks and smokes a lot, but I think that he will go to church if his wife pushes him a little bit.  Our district leader asked me to give the training today, and it turned out good. The zone leaders where there too.  I taught about the role of the spirit in conversion.  The main focus was on what we could do to help our investigators feel the spirit.  I used Acts 2 as an example of how Peter gave a very short discourse and then 3,000 people were baptized.  Why? Because he had the spirit with him with an intensity that was equal to the level of conversion he had for himself.  As we reach a higher level of conversion, we will be able to teach with a greater degree of the spirit and the people that we teach will feel that difference. 
April 2, 2015
         So we taught all of the youth after seminary today about prophets and why they are important.  Seminary here starts at 7 at night and goes til 8:30.  Our investigator wrote up an essay on the Word of Wisdom and it was, as usual, really well done.  However, she put a bunch of hearts right next to my name.  It is weirding me out on the inside, but keeping my cool on the outside. . it's actually kind of funny, because this past weekend she found out what a snake was (from some other member or missionary) and she immediately stopped with all of the flirty stuff. It was kind of cool, because she knows what's right, and so far, she's showing that she wants to do it!  She ALSO went to ALL of the sessions of general conference including the women’s conference.  We are planning for her baptism in a couple of weeks.
         We had a really good lesson with W and B.  They quit smoking for a couple of weeks, but started up again.  The parents are pretty relaxed about everything, but their little 9 year old daughter is very serious.  We read James 4:31 that teaches that he who knows how to do good and doesn’t do it, commits sin.  We asked the little girl what she thought that meant and she told us that it is like people who know what they should do to follow God but they are just scared to do it and that is wrong. She is a pretty bright little girl. 
Our nice stake center!
It was a super inspired conference this weekend - it is always that way but extra nice when you are a missionary.  I especially loved the Saturday morning one with all the talks about marriage. I also loved it when President Uchtdorf started speaking in German after the Spanish speaker. At first, I was thinking, whaaaaat? Do I not understand English anymore??? I think that he's itching to give a talk in his native tongue. 
I'm kind of in a bad mood because the repair that the shoe guy did only lasted a couple weeks. I'm going to have to glue the rest of them together now.... My Johnston and murphy shoes are still holding up, so I think that they'll last to the end.
This sign was on the ground and set out next to the trash.  I think that I will keep it!



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Did I ever tell you that missions are hard?


March 19, 2015
          So we are teaching this 18 year old mom and she has committed to be baptized on April 18th if she is ready by then.  We also taught a bunch of other people today and all the lessons went well, but I just feel spiritually drained.  I am going to have to figure something out or I am not going to make it to the end of my mission.  Lunch today was frustrating because Elder D. almost make a members kid cry because he pretended to pluck out her eyes with a knife. Who does that?
March 20, 2015
         Soooo good news and bad news.  The good news is that the other elders are going to have a baptism tomorrow! The bad news is that the pump to drain the font isn’t working and the water was super old so we couldn’t use it for the baptism. It was green, smelly, and full of bugs!  So, we ended up taking all of the water out by hand.  It was actually a lot easier than it sounds. 
         I was on divisions with Elder D. and the definite highlight of the day was E.’s interview.  We were talking to him before and after his interview and we were able to actually have a meaningful conversation with him about the gospel.  It was cool!  He is so knowledgeable and ready for more.  He already knows about the first and second resurrection just from understanding the book of Isaiah.
March 21, 2015
         The baptism went great! That really was the only thing that went the way it was planned today.  During the baptism, the bishop wanted to talk (he like to talk).  Whatever he starts, he usually goes off on never ending tangents telling life stories and sadly a little apostasy.  I was sitting in the back and our ward mission leader and I made a bet on how long he would talk.  I said 15, and Herbert said 20.  Bishop ended up talking only 8 minutes and 50 seconds so that went a LOT better than expected.
We taught A. today and her Dad forbade her to go to church.  We will have to talk to him more about that tomorrow.
March 22, 2015
         Shoot!! Everything fell off the deep end this Sunday.  No one came to church, and one of our best young couples needs to work out the paperwork on a divorce before they can get married/baptized.  It is the end of a transfer, and the end of another hard week.  I am not sure how I feel about this next transfer.
March 23, 2015
         Okay, I have no clue what President is thinking.  We are staying here, Elder Anderson and Elder Dornales are leaving and their sector is being absorbed into ours.  We are getting another elder, Elder Shelton, as a TRIO.  I am not sure how I feel about that.  Well one thing that I know is that I won’t like working in a trio, no one ever does.  On the bright side, I got to play a lot of basketball. We were playing games where the teams switch up with every game and my team won every single game!  Yeah, it was the best part of the day.  Also, I sort-of got demoted when my district was absorbed into another district.
March 24, 2015
         Well this is going to be complicated.  We do NOT work well in a trio.  It is super hard to teach.  I am going to have to figure something out quickly.  My new comp makes a lot of random cracks that aren’t all that appropriate in English (I am the only one who understands him.)  I bite my tongue a lot of times, but sometimes my tongue reacts faster than my mind can process.  The only way to counteract this problem is by talking about our investigators which in all honesty is what we should be doing anyway.
March 25, 2015
         District meeting was a huge let down today.  It was very robotic and exactly out of the PMG book with a lot of ums and ahs and awkward pauses.  All of the other elders, except for one,  have more than one year in the field so it was hard for us.  The only thing that I learned form the training was actually from the newbie.  He asked a really good question and that was what I remembered for the rest of the practice.  Good questions will make you think and remember.
         We taught A. again today and her dad gave his permission for her to go to church.  We also taught C. and she seems really interested.  We left 3 Nephi 11 with her to read and she wrote her own summary about it so that she could remember what she read.  It was perfect! She is preparing herself for baptism on April 18th.
         We have been seeing a lot of members from Elder Shelton’s old areas. (Like one person every single day) Today we saw this guy and he served a mission and helped our current zone leader come back to church and go on a mission.
March 26, 2015
         Well, we taught I. today and he is a really nice person but super not interested.  He is one of our basketball friends, but he is very evangelical and doesn’t want to listen to anything we have to say. We did teach a bunch of other people today but a good portion of our appointments fell through.  Elder S. has a hard time about talking about home.  He was in the MTC when I was, so we have the same amount of time left. It is not a very good idea to put two missionaries who are about to end their missions together.  Fortunately he says these things in English – it would be very destructive if people understood what he was saying.
March 27, 2015
         Today was really hard.  All of our appointments fell through and my stomach has been killing me for the past couple of days.  Today was hard.  I was walking slowly, and it was HARD to do contacts.  We taught very little.  However, we had a super cool lesson with F. and E.  They are investigators from the other elders.  I have already taught them on divisions 2 months ago.  He was in a bad motorcycle accident. He broke his pelvis and a bunch of other stuff.  Needless to say, he was bedridden. The other elders found them and started to teach them.  It took us almost a week after the transfers to get back together with them. Anyways, when we met with them today, F. was standing up!!  He told us an amazing thing had happened to him.  The last night that the missionaries where there, they prayed that God would do what the doctors could not and then afterwards, F. prayed with a lot of faith that he could be healed.  That night, he had a dream that he was being operated on and the next day he had his doctors appointment.  The doctor took Xrays and was shocked at what he saw on the Xrays.  He asked F. if he could stand up and then he did!  His pelvis had completely healed overnight.  He is still very weak, but he is getting physical therapy to receive his strength back.  This is a miracle!  

I have been asked about my preference for my final airport destination which means that they are getting ready to book my tickets home.  I understand why dad cannot come to Brazil (or anywhere in South America) this year because it requires vaccinations and he can't be vaccinated until next year. There's no way that he would survive here with a weak immune system because... well... I'm not sure if Rio was any cleaner than Fortaleza, but there's literally trash in the streets. Every street has lots of dog poop/animal poop, and human waste flowing through the open sewers. My area is completely situated exactly around these canals. Luckily they're a lot cleaner now after the torrent that we had a couple of weeks ago. Think about it. It's like a 15 foot wide 10 foot deep chute of water moving at high speed. It cleaned out just about everything. It was super nasty before though.
I am working on keeping my mind focused on finishing strong. I told Taylor, I'm the only one doing contacts right now. Out of three old, experienced missionaries! My new comp is kind of revolted against president for putting him here and he always complains about feeling like the third wheel. We've had a couple of discussions, and I don't know if you have ever read the talk about the fourth missionary, but he is very much a type 2 or 3 missionary. He's just biting the bullet for now instead of loving the work. When I told him that, he got a little mad and told me 'you don't know what I've worked like, you don't know what I've done in my areas, you don't know how I am as a missionary!' I thought and thought for a while (one of the cool things that I have learned on my mission is how to think before I talk!!! :D ) and I told him, 'sorry, you're right. I don't know what it's been like for you. I'm sure that you know how to work, so why aren't you doing it here?'  Him: 'because I hate it here. I didn't ask to get transferred.' After a lot more thought I said 'well, you've worked really hard, but if we do really well in life, and then screw up at the end, what's going to come of us? We have to endure to the end. We always have to give it our best, or the Lord won't be with us.' Then we both we quiet for a while, and then he said, 'I'm sorry, I just don't feel useful. I don't know what I'm doing here, I don't know the area, I don't know the people, I'm super close to my old area, I don't know. I'll try to do better.' Ever since that moment, it has gotten a lot better.