Monday, May 25, 2015

Fantastic week, despite sickness.

Our mission logo-the symbol of our mission that President Bonini chose.

 I included a picture of what I drew that the elders want to put on their zone T-shirt. I thought that it was pretty funny, because the theme of the mission is "Start with the final result in sight". I feel that my drawing shows how an Elder feels about this theme.
May 17, 2015
         Today was stake conference and we had an area authority talk.  He was a lot like the pastors from other churches here in Brazil.  He talked really loudly, used hand gestures, and cried a lot.  Everyone really loved it cause that is just the way Brazilians are.  To tell the truth, it was a really good talk about faith.  He talked about how when you are rich, material things seem inexpensive and then are not a concern to us.  If we compare our faith to wealth and become rich in our faith, then our problems will not concern us because we will have the resources to handle them.  The cool thing about stake conference was that I had 7 investigators come to church.  Wooohooo!  Afterwards we visited with everyone and they are all excited about their upcoming baptismal dates.  Another one of the cool miracles that happened today sortof by accident was that R. (one of our investigators) was dropped off at church and was told to get a ride home with us.  He forgot to ask us, but amazingly enough we found out later that he showed his ability and independence by walking home by himself.  (This is our special needs investigator who is surprising everyone with what he CAN do!) 
         We had a great lesson with A. and his family.  While we were there, the family that referred them to us come over to talk with us.  They were very complimentary when they heard that the wedding and baptism were all arranged.  They were so supportive of their friends, it is great!
May 18, 2015
         Something kind of funny happened last night while we were planning we had a bunch of stuff to do today and we almost didn’t plan time to email home.  Haha! We were so focused on everything that we need to get done that we forgot it was p-day.  I don’t know what was the highlight of toady because we taught three great lessons on p-night.  Yep, we are super busy.  The best lesson was family night with A. and T. It ws bades on faith and M. (our recent convert) gave the message. The daughter of the family is the same age as M. so she is helping befriend her.  M. asked people to give examples of faith and the daughter told us the story about the first time they went to church. Their member friends had already arranged to take them to church but they couldn’t find the key.  They looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it.  The daughter decided to say a prayer and in her prayer she asked that if God wanted her family to go to this church, would He please help them find the key, and if not then the key would remain hidden.  Just as she finished her prayer, the key was found and they all made their first visit to church.  In the end of the lesson we sang “Families can beTogether Forever”…but in Brazilian it is translated “Family is Forever.”  I thought about how great it was to bring an entire family to Christ, and then I thought about my own eternal family that I will be with in just 3 short weeks!  #TRUNKY!
May 19, 2015
         This morning we found a man who accepted our message about the restoration.  He is the first person in a long time that we have successfully contacted.  We are so busy with teaching our great investigators, that we are having a hard time finding time to contact new people.  We have been visiting with G. and R. every day in preparation for their baptism this Saturday.  The two couples are preparing to travel to the wedding office this week to sign the final paperwork.  Everything seems like it is going to work out.
My last zone training!!! I took pictures with all of the other elders who are finishing their missions with me. Yep, everyone was pretty trunky.

May 20, 2015
         My last zone training! Weird.  In our zone, we have 3 missionaries going home and we have 3 brand new missionaries.  Everyone was joking with me about going home, even the other elders who are leaving.  They like to mess with me more. 
         I haven’t been feeling well for a couple of days.  I have really serious diarrhea…like every hour on the hour.  It is super hard to teach and gather the will power to contact people when I am so sick.  But, I only have a short time left so I don’t want to waste it at home.
The two lucky women! (I forgot to take a picture of the men...)
May 21, 2015
         The couples signed their papers for their weddings this morning.  We were walking to J. and J.’s house to walk with them to the train.  But they had already left without us.  Then we met up with A. and E.  and walked with them to the station.  One of the trains broke down so we had to wait 2 hours for the next train.  But everyone started talking and getting to know each other.  They are all super happy to be getting married.  I had enough time to read a good chunk of the Book of Mormon on the train rides.  My goal is to finish it one more time before my mission ends. 
         Another thing that we did today was have a special training for the youth. Almost all of the youth here want to serve a mission one day.  They are very helpful with missionary work and they know a lot more about the work than I did before I came out on a mission.  But one problem that they have is that they ALL date at a very young age, some as early as 12 years old.  We decided that the best way to approach this was to have a fireside about the importance of the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet.  We compared it to the missionary handbook because the same way that the handbook is a guideline for obedience to the missionaries, this FSOY is their handbook.  We left each couple of youth a topic to read and explain.  We left the sexual purity and dating topic for the bishop.  Everything worked out great except for the bishop’s part when he taught stuff that definitely isn’t doctrinal to a group of young kids, investigators, and recent converts.  Ugghhh!  Then after his strange ramblings he turned the dating talk over to us.  Like the Elders are experts on dating.
         R. and G. are scheduled to have their interview tomorrow and they are both ready.  I am going to baptize R. and Elder Ribeiro is going to baptize G.  
May 22, 2015
         We had another division today and I went to the other area with Elder G. again.  I titled the last division with him “Getting lost with a crazy Chilean 1.” Well, this division is called, “Getting Lost with a Crazy Chilean #2.”  I thought that the other time was just because he was new in his area, but it had been over a month and he still doesn’t have a clue where anything is.  It’s funny because he always walks as if he know where he is going. Also it was weird because my planner given to me by Elder R. O. was a lot different from his companions, Elder G.  I am seriously thinking that he has a couple of screws loose.  My companion told me that his divisions didn’t go much better.  He is concerned that Elder O. only contacts girls and women because he said, “Why would I contact men when I like women, not men.” When I got home I found out that Elder O. had searched through ALL of my stuff looking for anything that he could take with him.  Ughh, what a terrible example of a district leader! BUT, it doesn’t matter because we got our baptismal interviews done and the baptism is ready to go for tomorrow.  My companion and I made special desserts and they are so beautiful!
The jello is acually super easy, it just takes a while to make. Every 1/2 hour or so you waste 10 seconds to pour on another layer. Brazilian jell-o also isn't all that great, so it didn't taste nearly as good as it looks.

I made the jello, but Elder Ribeiro made the cake. He worked in a bakery for a while, so he knows how to make a ton of stuff.
May 23, 2015
         Yet another day that we wasted getting the dirty water out of the font by hand.  All of the youth were there helping us, so we were able to get it done in just over an hour.  Then we had to wait for it to fill up.  The baptism went down without a hitch.  R. was a little scared that he was going to drown, but he got in the water and was baptized!  The bishop gave his usual unusual baptismal address.  The coolest part was that all of our other investigators who have baptismal dates came to watch.  It was great! 

        After the baptism, we had a “family night” with some members who live close to J. and J. and we invited the two of them. It was very nice and cozy because it was just the two couple and us.  I did that tape object lesson that Mom sent me that relates how keeping the Sabbath day holy helps to keep us on the right path to our Heavenly Father.   J. was the example and it worked perfectly.  When she was blindfolded she couldn’t make it to the end of the tape, but when she could open her eyes on every seventh step to regain her direction, then she was able to reach the end of the line.  Everyone loved the example and the sister said that she felt the spirit very strongly.  I hope that our investigator’s also felt the spirit of the message.  Keeping the Sabbath holy is a very difficult challenge for most Brazilians.
May 24, 2015
         Well, J. must have felt something last night because she came to church today even though she told us yesterday that she would not be able to go because she had to pick up her son in another city.  We asked her why she was able to come after all.  She said that she realized that she should come to the Lord’s house first and then search after her own interests.  We gave ties to both J. and A. so that they could have them for church. They were super happy about that!  Our gospel principles class was FULL today!  We had 7 investigators, and 2 new member confirmations, and 2 recent converts.  Seriously, I am so stoked about how well things are turning out for the last part of my time in Brazil.  I am seriously also wiped out every night.  One night this week, we literally were so tired that we could not sit at our desks to plan.  We just had to lay down on the floor to get it done.  It is good to be drained because we use our energy and time well.  I think that my misison president is going to baptize one of the people my last week here. On my last Saturday on my mission, we're going to baptize two families, and President Bonini is going to come here be part of the baptism! It's super exciting.
Jerry-rigging a straining system for cevada which is a roasted ground barley coffee caffeine!

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