Thursday, October 27, 2011

Week 10

Crazy that I´ve already been here almost 2 transfers. It´s super exciting that Elder Larsen got his visa finally. after 2 months in the MTC we got to be pretty good friends. I´m really excited to see him again.

Woo! I can´t believe Dallin finally has a drivers license. I don´t know how much he´s been driving before, but I think it´s definitely a good idea to get him warmed up slowly. A stake dance is not as easy as it seems. I still hate the freeway. Speaking of crazy driving, I´m so glad we don´t have a car in São Paulo. The drivers here are nuts. At 4-way-intersections without stop signs, cars just honk as they fly through at 50 kmh. I´ve already seen lots of accidents here. Usually it´s a motorcycle since the law doesn´t apply to them. They weave in and out of cars and run red lights all the time. Approximately 2 people die every day in São Paulo because of the crazy traffic. One day we think we saw the daily quota. We saw 2 ambulances at 2 different crash sites that didn´t seem like they were in a big hurry, so it was either not so bad, or really bad.

We had the Primary Program in Sacrament meeting this Sunday too. It was so cool in Português. It was the sacrament meeting I got the most out of since I´ve been here in Brasil since they´re all kids with my vocabulary. The music abilities were about the same though, but I´ve decided that music isn´t a huge strength of Brasil. Most people can´t hear the difference between the swing rhythm in ``We Thank Thee, Oh God, For A Prophet´´ and the way they´re singing it. It´s driving me crazy. I want to put together a ward choir, but I don´t think I have the time as a missionary, and it sounds like a nightmare with the singing I´ve heard in Sacrament meeting so far... but the Primary Program was good.

We had a division with our Zone Leaders on Tuesday. I was left as the Senior Companion in our area, but it turned out pretty well. We didn´t get too lost, and we had some good lessons. We also ran into a guy from Sweden going to school here that speaks English and Português. It was pretty cool to talk with him. He said he´s Baptist, and at the end he said a prayer for us. It was a little strange because he spoke English and used really normal words like ``guys´´ and used ``like´´ alot. Also, a hobo came up to me while my companion was occupied speaking spanish with a Bolivian and asked me where he could get a job like us. He wanted to be a missinoary too so he could earn some money and have a place to sleep.

One more ``funny´´ story from the week: a sister from the ward who gave us a good reference told us today why her friend called us and said she doesn´t want the missionaries over anymore. Apparently she thought I like her daughter. In complete honesty, I don´t really evern remember what her daughter even looks like. I saw her one time as we taught her and a few other people the 3rd lesson. When she told our member friend this, our friend told her she was crazy to even think that since I´m a missionary and I have a fiance (I swear I´ve never used this word with anyone). Her friend got all upset that she had been called crazy. She told us ``I wish I hadn´t upset her, but I had to defend Elder Candland.´´ I guess that was kind of cool to have a member sticking up for me. The funny thing is that all of this happened and I was completely oblivious since I don´t understand a whole lot unless I´m completely focused on a conversation. Anyway, to sum it all up, we lost a reference, I don´t like her daughter, and I also don´t have a fiance, but I know about 3 Brasilian Elders who do.

I´m slowly finding that some of the culture difference between me and the Brasilian Elders in my zone is not really easy to get used to. One big thing for me is the ownership we have in the US isn´t so big here. The other Elders will just walk in to our house and eat our food and use our stuff without asking. They´re used to it, but I´m not. When we get together at our house for lunch after district meetings, I get really frustrated because all of the food we payed for gets eaten and no asks. It´d be better if they would just ask since that´s what I´d been taugh to do during my childhood. We also bought it with the limited money we have on our cards, and it´s always our home they eat at.

But for some good news, we have about 5 baptismal dates. I think 3 are pretty solid for right now, but I´m hoping we can help all 5 get prepared sufficiently. We also have a couple of investigators that have been recieving the missionaries for a long time that are finally making some progress. A few less active members we´ve had lunch with are also starting to get a little more active in the church again.

Anyway, I hope this week is a little less crazy. Good luck on the drivers test too Shaini.

As for presents, peanut butter, another watch, my book of guitar hymns, and that deoderant from CTR clothing would be quite nice.

Anyway, have another sweet week in Washington where it hasn´t been super hot this last week. I´m gonna die in December.

Elder Candland

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Week 9

I've got a small package here I'm putting together to try and make it home for Christmas. It's got something small for everyone including Stephanie, and some extra small things from Brasil that we don't have at home. It's quite small. I'm trying to keep it cheap because the shipping will be the worste part. Also, I assume you guys finally sent that package. I'm not sure if CTR Clothing will send stuff straight to me, but I'm gonna need more of that Crystalux deoderant they have in about 3 months. I used it a lot before the mission.

I always forget to say happy birthday the week before. Thanks to Stephanie's calendar, I always know when one is coming up. Before the calendar, I had no idea when anyone's birthday was. I'm gonna need a new one soon.

It's summer here, and I thought I was gonna die, but it's been the best weather yet. Cloudy, and lots of rain. I've been using my sweet $300 rainjacket a lot. I love the rain because it keeps all the concrete cool and the air fresh... kinda.

As for my only 2 converts, they are solid. It's like 2 Stephanie conversions here. They both found the Gospel and grabbed on really tight. Ana, the mom, had just gone through a tough divorce she hadn't wanted, and she was always very quiet and looked so sad all the time. Now they seem so much more happy now and just looke brighter. Also, we just talked with her at church yesterday and she mentioned she wants to be married in the temple. I hope so much that she can find someone that she can do that with.

We just had a meeting with our ward missionary leader at this little lunchonette on Saturday. We figured it would be to check up, but really it was to teach us and help us make goals. It was really good. Then, afterward, he had us contact this older couple eating on the other side of the room, and they were very receptive and happy to talk with us. We scheduled to teach them this weekend.

My companion is obsessed with the song
Love Story`` by Taylor Swift right now. He printed off the lyrics and guitar chords. He doesn't speak English very well and his accent is really thick and kinda nasally, so when he sings... it's not so good. I constantly help him get the rythm of the lyrics down, but he forgets quick and is fairly tone deaf. He reminds me a lot of our old neighbor, Daniel the way he pronounces his English; it's just that he's 19, not 10.

I havne't had many good exciting stories this week. I have noticed, though, that on the bus, if I'm standing up, most of the people's eyes are looking at me. I stick out a lot more than I thought I did. It's just that in the United States, any race is pretty normal, so everyone here looks normal to me (except for the black asian people, that's new).

Next door live the Zone Leaders. We have new ones. Elder Fagundes is hilarious. He speaks English well, and he loves to work out. We work out in the mornings a lot, and we've been taking weekly pictures on his camera to show the progress. There isn't much. My arms are a little bigger though, but usually we keep it simple so we're not too sore to work the rest of the day.

Anyway, I hope I answered everyone's questions this time. Have a good week. Get lots of stuff done. Pass your driver's tests if you have them. Don't do drugs.

Elder Candland

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week 8

Ya, it´ll be probably quite a while before I can send some pictures. I´m still looking for places I can buy a camera for not too much. Generally cameras here are more expensive. At lest from what I´ve seen.

As for the baptism, yes, I baptized one of them. I baptized the daughter. The water was seriously hose water. I also got to confirm the mom. I confirmed someone. In Português. It was actually really cool. I was unprepared, not expecting that I would actually be asked to do it as an``Alemanha´´ with not much Português. I had trouble pronouncing the confirmation, but when it came to the blessing, I was able to just say what I felt. It was short, but when I sat down, I realized I said things I wouldn´t normally have said because they were either bold (which I´m not) or used grammar I wouldn´t have thought to use. After Sacrament meeting, I went to talk to them, and they looked different. Better for sure. You could tell they had the Holy Ghost.

Ya, I realized there were actually 2 black guys in the choir. Only during Sunday though. I´m positive Saturday morning there was only one. And the famous black guy, Alex Boye, I´ve seen before. We watched EVERY I´m a Mormon video in the MTC during our breaks. I like his accent, especially since he´s not white.

I recieved a few answers during conference as well, but I also have been recieving a lot of answers here in the field from experiences such as lessons, trials, and straight up revelation through prayer. This week I also learned the meaning of the scripture ``Pray always that ye may come off conquerer...´´ I recieved an analogy between appointments the other day: ``If I were a soldier in enemy territory, how much would I pray? Constantly. And this world is always at war, and we are always in Satan´s territory.´´ Now, I pray always, and it has helped me a considerable amount. Also, my companion was being lazy this morning and I had things I needed to do, but because he didn´t want to do what I wanted, I didn´t have the time I needed to finish it all. Then, on the bus I was praying for help to not feel so angry, and I recieved an answer that I just needed to talk to him about it because holding it all in was only hurting me. Then I realized that the whole situation was just part of his plan for me, and I realized the mission really does prepare you for marriage.

It sounds like things are going well at home with the drivers exams finally getting passed.

Something here I love is the fruit. There are so many different fruits I´ve never seen before. It´s so good to just go buy fruit, throw it in the blender, and make some really good juice. And there are these Lanchonettes every block in the city. There´s on in particulary that our zone loves. It´s in a mall in our area, and for $R6, you can get a huge thing of the best, fresh juice, and two different kinds of bread stuffed with different kinds of meat and cheese. We went there again today for lunchy. It´s so cool there, I wish I could just drive you guys there every now-and-then.

Here´s my ``funny´´ stories for the week. One day, I was trying to say something was ``fun´´ but I didn´t know the word for fun, so I just said the word in the Português sentance, and my companion asked ``What´s fun?´´ and I wanted to start singing the song from Spongebob really bad, but he wouldn´t have got it at all. Also, one day, we were walking on the street, and it just started pouring. I know rain since I lived in Washington for so long, but this was pretty outrageous. There were 2 to 3 inches of water in the sides of the street. The best part was, it was super windy too, and all of the stores and lunchenettes shut ther doors before we could find a place to hide, so we stood under a small over hang for about 20 minutes in the most crazy rain I´ve seen in a long time. We actually just started laughing because it was so ridiculous. We decided after that, since we were soaked, that we had a wild card for any investigator we wanted to visit.

As for being the new ward mission president, here´s my advice. Read through Preach My Gospel to get a feel of what the modern missionary should be like, adn especially read the chapter about working with ``Ward Leaders´´ to get a feel of the missionarie´s responsibility in the ward and the relationship with the leaders. As for things that are nice to have from the leader, we have an awesome leader in our ward right now. He helped arrange the baptism, he´s arranged splits for us to contanct inactive members, he´s always thinking of things that he and we can do to gain trust of the ward. Something we need here is more work witht he members. Working with the members is really important. They show other people that members are normal people. And to hear a testimony from someone else that used to be the same religion as you or had similar experiences before is really, really helpful. Also, try to meet with the Elders, even just for 15-20 minutes each week to help them with anything.

Have another good week. talk to you guys next Monday.

Elder Candland

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 7

Sorry the email didn´t come this Monday. We had our P-Day switched so we could visit the temple this Wednesday. Today. It was pretty cool actually. Everything was in Português, but there just so happened to be a Senior Missionary from Federal Way, WA there to help me out when I needed it. I understood quite a bit, especially since I´d been through the temple about 6 times in English. The temple is much smaller than the Seattle temple, but it doesn´t lack in beauty at all. The inside is just as intricate and magnificent as any other temple I´ve seen. That kind of caught me off guard for some reason.
I don´t eat cereal very ofter here. It´s super expensive and they only have like 4 brands. Frosted flakes, cocoa puffs, cocoa flakes, and corn flakes. All of them are the same company with Tony the Tiger on the front. We´ve bought cereal twice, but it´s not worth it since two guys eat one box in 2 days. It´s strange here, they have as many brands of milk as we have brands of cereal, and as many brands of cereal as we have brands of milk. We pretty much eat pancakes about every other day. In between we have fruit, hootenanny´s or something like cookies. I have particularly good story about food here. I went on a division with an Elder in the neigboring area, and at lunch the sister pulled out a nice fruit salad. I was all excited to finish my food on my plate and try some of the salad. The bowl was sort of small, so I only grabbed a little bit (thankfully) because the grapes were unpitted olives, the bananas and apple were potato pieces and slices, the mango was actually some kind of sweet potato, and the whipped cream was mayonnaise and vinegar. Not quite the fruit salad I had hoped for. I almost threw up. The best part is the missionary code of ``eat everything on your plate.´´ I think my eyes were watering by the time I finished it.

We´ll be going to conference, both Saturday and Sunday. I´ll keep an eye out for Stephanie. They have it in English for people like me, or for people who speak English (there are quite a few that speak enough to understand the speakers). PMG encourages all missionaries to learn English. I think it´s because all the leaders speak in English and they probably can get more from the talk than a translation of the talk.

We finally had our first baptism here in Perdizes. It was a mother and her daughter (we see a lot of this here). I´m pretty sure they´ll both be strong members since we only had to invite them to be baptized. They read and prayed and did everything they needed to to gain a testimony on their own accord. It was really exciting too. The day of the baptism, we got to church about 1 hour late since we picked up another investigator beforehand. We found the tank empty, and the baptism takes place right after sacrament meeting. My companion and I ran back and forth from the hose spicket outside with bucktfulls of water while we had the faucet going. We got the faunt full enough before sacrament meeting that we were able to attend sacrament. Good thing too, because during the announcememts, they announced that I was finally going to give my talk. Anyway, when we finally had the baptism, the water super cold. Not terrible, but enough that I was glad I wasn´t going under. Afterward, Ana (the mother) cried and her daughter, Ana, asked her why she was sad, but she said it was because she was so happy. I´m really happy for them too. I´m glad I´ve finally seen someone embrace the gospel, and so strongly too.

As for my talk, it went well. I said what I wanted to, and I wasn´t nervous (except for when they announced I would speak. that wasn´t fair). I was complimented on my talk by several people, so I know at least a few understood me.

That´s about it for spiritual stuff this week. I do enjoy the bus here. Only because it´s always an adventure. For about every 20 strange people, there is one normal person on the bus. One time, this old lady started making angry cat noises in the front of the bus. Then there was this one guy who probably hadn´t wiped after using the bathroom for the last 2 weeks. Thank goodness he sat at the front of the bus so the wind could carry the smell through the entire bus. Sometimes we´re graced with the presence of a fat lady who´s neck jiggles hypnotically the entire trip.

I know about 3 edlers here that have fiancés and have dates for their wedding already. I don´t feel like I´m being too trunkie with my Stephanie calendar.

Oh, anyway, I was robbed. We were walking across this bridge at night (a freeway bridge) and I knew it was a bad place. I prayed for protection, and we passed this guy and he did nothing. I was all relieved that my prayers had been answered, but then this group of 7 guys about 25 - 30 years old came up to us and surrounded us. One grabbed the watch uncle Matthew gave me at the MTC, and as he slipped it into his pocket, I caught a faint smile on his face as he looked me in the eyes. My camera was stolen. That solves my picture problem of trying to get the computer to let me send any. They almost had my entire backpack too, but as they walked away I rememberd the scriptures I´ve had since I was 8 with tons of scriptures marked. We went back after them and asked nicely for my scriptures. Turns out my companion said something to the guy and he gave me my backpack back to me, but I started taking out the things I needed unknowingly, and he spotted my camera. That´s when he took it from me. They were all high on something, and we could have easily given a few shoves, maybe thrown an elbow, and been free of them. I remembered the missionary handbook and the name on my badge below my own, so I patiently allowed them to take whatever they forced from me. I also remembered the time Joseph Smith was being taken to jail but was rescued, and he invited the captors to his home for dinner and a party. I didn´t have anything quite as bold or cool, but I told them to have a good night and gave them a smile. Afterward at home my companion looked at me and said ``I love them.´´ but then we laughed. I don´t hold anything against them, but I haven´t successfully figured out how to actually fee love for them.

I was able to watch all of conference, and in English too. It was so good. I paid the most attention this time than I ever have. They had a nice little room set up for anyone who spoke English and wanted to hear the raw talks. It was just me and a young couple... that couple... every now and then I heard kissing noises. That is so not cool. Aside from that I really enjoyed a lot´s of things from conference. I remember a talk by an authority with a sweet, thick Hispanic accent. I thought of Dad, Dallin, and I at home getting a kick out of some of the real good accents. I also was able to spot the one black guy in the choir by the end of the first session. Usually I´m a little quicker. There was also this CRAZY dude in the priesthood choir I couldn´t take my eys off when he sang. I really like Robert D. Hales. His talk was about trials, and that´s something I´ve been learning a lot about on the mission. Not because of my own, but during personal study time I´ve just learned a lot about it. Elder Holland was on fire during the Priesthood session. That was crazy, and I enjoyed it actually. You can tell Stephanie I took good notes during Elaine S. Dalton´s talk. I paid CLOSE attention. There was one point in particular duing a talk, I don´t remember which, but I heard something that didn´t quite make sense, because it seemed to condradict something else I heard earlier, but suddenly I felt  the ``prick´´ of the Spirit in my heart and I realized immediately what the difference was and why I didn´t understand. The story from J. Devn Cornish about finding a quarter, I had that happen in the MTC. They have a delicious oreo cream pie, and I had yet to get one because they go so fast. I was in line and as I passed the desert section, it was empty, so I prayed for them to bring the cake, and when I opened my eyes, I saw someone with a fresh tray. I sat down and said a good prayer of gratitude.

Anyway, I had the temple trip and it threw my entire schedule off. I ran out of time and we never had an opportunity to return and send off my draft. Here´s two weeks worth of an email.

Not much else happend this week. It was full of temple trip, zone conference, and conference. I really only had 3 days of good work.

Anyway, I´ll do better next week. Have another good week, and I´ll try and respond more WITH you guys next time.

Elder Candland