Monday, December 26, 2011

Week 18

Alright, so we did just talk yesterday, but I had a few things I forgot to talk about. A few things more related to the mission. Sort of.

First off I liked Kortney's club. You guys could start inviting other people to join your club. I don't know, maybe that would ruin it for you guys, I’m just thinking like a missionary. But it does remind me of a game another Elder in the MTC and I wanted to start up. It’s like pick-pocketing, but you try and sneak money into people’s pockets when they're not looking, and if they catch you, they don’t get the money.

As for food we could use here in Brasil, maple extract would be really good. Maybe some instant oatmeal like maple and brown sugar and cinnimon spice (I always forget how to spell cinnimon and the spell check here is Portuguese). I'll let you know later if I think of anything more.

Anway, as for the mission here, I guess I’ll start of with the funnier stories of this last week:

There’s this crazy guy who ALWAYS tries to talk with us when he sees us. I don’t know why because he never says anything important or asks any questions about what we do. Maybe he just likes Americans, and most people think that all missionaries are Americans. Anyway, this last time he caught us (I wasn’t fast enough to warn my companion to run) he asked us if we had gone to the beach since the last time we talked. I told him we hadn’t because we have to stay in Sao Paulo. Then he saw another guy and kind of hesitated for a minute like he was trying to decide who was worth talking to more, but then he had an idea and said ``wait right here, don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back, I just want to talk to my buddy over there, just stay right there, don’t go, stay," and then ran off to talk to the other guy. So we waited, and when he came back he asked us how the beach was. !?!? What? Didn’t I just say we didn’t go? Anyway, he really likes the ladies too, so he talked about the beach and how he likes to meet the ladies there and kiss them and how he’s been waiting patiently to find some pretty women, and that God know’s he’s been patient, so he’ll be rewarded soon. I don’t know what it is with the beach, but he always relates everything to the beach. He also told us that one day, before he was cool like he is now, he just decided to throw out everything and be a chill guy; like literally throw it all out. He threw his TV out the window and his mom got mad at him, but he’s glad he did it because now he doesn’t have a care in the world. He just lives on a couch on the sidewalk and talks to everyone. We're marked the map with a red area right near his ``couch, as well as a yellow ``Caution! area within about half a mile radius of his couch so we know where not to go and where to be on the look out.

One day, we were walking around trying to find a hous, so we sat on a rock to look at the map, but as we climbed up onto this rock, I noticed a bunch of flies flying around something black on the other side. I realized it was a dead chicken, but then I noticed another, and my perspective widened a little bit more and I noticed there were about 6 dead chickens scattered around this little park covered with trash and knocked over crates and stuff. Then the smell hit us. It was the strangest thing I've seen. It looked like something from an apocalypse movie, like there were some people camping out, then they were attacked by zombies during the night, everyone left a huge mess after the battle, and then the zombies killed the chickens. I don’t know, It was wierd.

Anyway, we've been having a lot more success here now that I've got a companion that wants to work hard too. We've been trying really hard to find new investigators through the area book. We've found a few, but we also got a few references. One is really promising. We taught her about the Restoration and she listened very intently. As we taught about Joseph Smith, the Spirit was really strong, and I know he felt it. She also told us a little about what she believes, and she basically explained a little of the Plan of Salvation to us. We walked out of her house totally excited to come back and teach her again. We've also got a few other references that sound like they've got some potential as well, we just couldn’t meet with them because they were too busy with Christmas. With the ward split, we’ll see what happens, but either way, we've totally ready to rip this place apart.

That’s it for this week. For stuff I didn’t already talk about. I did have a thought on Christmas Eve about the Portal gun. If you put a portal in Washington, and one in like Texas, or somewhere near the equator, because momentum carries through the portals, you'll go flying sideways because of the difference of momentum you have in Texas nearer to the outside of the Earth’s spin. Just a thought. Anyway, have a good week and a happy new year. I’ll let you know if it’s very exciting here for the Elders.

Elder Candland

Week 17

Alrighty, so the big thing I suppose is my new companion. His name is Elder Davis; he´s American, so we speek English at home. He´s pretty good. He´s really motivated so it´s helped me to work hard. My last companions have had their things that I haven´t liked or that they have slacked on like progress reports and investigator reports and using time smart, etc. Finally, being the leader for the next few weeks, I´ve been able to do all of the things I´ve thought should be done better. We´ve been on a roll. Our ward is pretty small, so we´ve decided to focus on less actives to try and get the ward stronger. With our little ward, it´s hard to retain many people when someone new is baptized. I´d rather not have any new members in this area than just keep adding to the less active´s list. Finding is pretty tough in this area too. Most people say we can come back, but I´m pretty sure they tell us to come back at a time they know they´ll be gone or busy. Anyway, we´ve gone through the area book, which doesn´t look like it´s been touched for a long time. I know my last companion never used it. We´ve organized it all really nicely, and are going back to try and see who would be willing to have us back, or who straight up doesn´t want it anymore. We´ve been organizing all the old investigators into little areas so we can try and contact as many as possible. So far we´ve only met a few, and only a couple of them have said we could come back. The others that don´t want it, we do all we know to leave them with a good impression and make sure they know they´re welcome at church anytime. We feel pretty good about all the people we´ve contacted so far. Having two motivated Elders that just want to what the Lord would have them do is so awesome. We´ve had the Spirit really helping us the last few days. Basically, training is the best thing that´s happened on the mission so far.

My Português is getting a lot better as well. I´ve had lots of compliments on my Português, but now that Elder Davis is here, he´s actually speaking better than I was when I first got to Brasil., so he gets more of the compliments now. I still have to do most of the talking though, which has been good for me to get over the fear of talking. I still have a lot to learn, but I´m usually able to carry out all of the conversations pretty well.

Here´s a couple of the funny stories from this week:

I found a really nice CD on the street one day, so I grabbed it and took it home to see if it had any sweet music on it, preferably funk (because it´s the cool thing here and it´s so dang awful). Anyway, it turned out to be this live performance album of some really cheasy, but I think popular, guy. It´s really funny music actually, especially when you understand some of the lyrics. We´ve both gotten a kick out of the CD.

We saw a guy on the side of the street unconscious with a really bloody knee. Elder Davis said: ``Somebody please remove these cutleries from my knees.´´ I had just mentioned Flight of the Conchords earlier that day. We both laughed, but then realized it was real blood and pretty gross.

I think Valve got a bunch of their sounds from Brasil. I heard a dog that sounded just like the flying camera things when you hit them with the crowbar, and the bus´s brakes all sound like some kind of vehicle from Half Life.

One last story. We stopped and talked with a bunch of young boys on the street the other day. They were all curious about how to say different things in English and had us talk to eachother in English. They also asked a lot of questions about the mission and what we do here. It was pretty cool, but then one of the boys showed ``here comes the truck´´ and this big water truck slowly started coming up the hill we were on. As it passed, a bunch of the boys ran after it and jumped on the back and hung there for about 30 seconds. I guess it´s the other thing boys here do for fun. Flying kites and playing futebol can get boring I guess.

Oh, I forgot, we had a ward Christmas party on Saturday. It was so funny. It wasn´t anything like our parties. There was a ton of fruit to eat, lots and lots of soda, and a ton of little fried foods. Then, a few of the more outgoing members sang really really bad Brasilian karaoke for about 2 hours. We both really liked the super cliché karaoke music videos. They´re just as bad here in Brasil as they are in the US. Anyway, we didn´t just sit around for 2 hours. We had a big list of people we needed to talk to and lots of things to figure out with the members and spent a lot of time talking to the ward figuring it all out, but it was also a party, so it´s not like we did that much work during.

Anyway, Sunday we had a lesson about our talents and stuff. When we talked about how are talents are given to us for the benefit of others, I thought about running track and how that could have been for anyone else. Then I remembered mom. I´m pretty sure she enjoyed it more than I did.

Have another really good week. I´ll talk to you Sunday.

Elder Candland

Week 16

[Note: This week Adam just received a "Dear John" letter from Stephanie, the young woman that he introduced to the Church and had been dating for the past 3 years]

Well, as you might imagine, I´m not terribly in the mood to write much right now.
Here´s my week though. We have had a really slow, and lame week. Perfect. All of our good investigators are out of town this week. It´s been terrible. It´s been so hot. I don´t know what 37 - 40 degrees celsius converts to, I just know it´s hot. 

I had a bunch of stories I wrote down in my planner, but I forgot it at home, and I can´t remember at the moment what I wrote. I got some photos at least.

The first, I made some pudding here in the house with crappy pots and stuff, but it turned out real good.

Second, I hit my 6 months and burned a tie.

Third, same thing.

Fourth and fifth, just a couple families here in the ward my companion took pictures with. I figured I´d send them too. The one with the crazy daughters is gonna be the family that keeps me feliz during the Christmas time. They tell us we´re like their sons they never had and they always are willing to make us lunch when lunch fails and we don´t have money. They also like to try and trick us into watching movies at their house. Not good, but they´re converts.

Anyway, The only story I can remember was that I was in a grocery store and the power went out for a few seconds. When it came on again, the master intercom thing that the old lady talks on to tell you what sales there are, it kept making the sound of the whale-like gunships from Half LIfe 2. When you play the game, you get a little bit conditioned, like the Pavlov dogs, to immediately think ``Danger,´´ but since it´s a video game, nothing really dangerous. That´s about it. I got a little anxious the first time, but nothing more.

Anyway, I got the package full of candy and cake mix. My companion was super excited to get american food. I´ve been sharing with him, but have yet to make any of the mixes. 

That´s my week. It´s a little short. Next week will be better. Have a good week.

Elder Candland

P.S. Hey, I´m back at the LANhouse today because my companion accidentally errased all my music on my iPod and he´s trying to save it.
The good news is I just found out I´m going to be training a new missionary this next transfer (tomorrow). I don´t know anything about him. He could be Brasilian or American. Possibly even Argentinan or Chilen. I´ll let you know next week.

Anyway, we´re going now. I´ll email you back on Monday. Hopefully with good news on the new companion and our work.

Week 15

Well, another week without any mail from Stephanie. I´ll trust it´s really super crazy insane busy down there.

Working out hasn´t been super crazy. I need to get back into it, but the week after we played soccer, my legs and back were sorer than they´ve been since wrestling practices started my senior year. I was kinda wimpy about working out too much that week since it was already hard enough to walk around in the sun for hours. 

As for missionary drama, we haven´t had a whole lot lately. Well, I take that back. We´ve got a really awkward situation with a member. We´ve just taught his daughter all the lessons and she´s gonna get baptized on Sunday, that´s really cool, but he´s a member and living with his girlfriend, who happens to be legally married to someone else still. That makes for really awkward encounters with them when we meet with them at their home. But, we did just find a really cool lady who is already married (which is like finding a needle in a haystack here in São Paulo) and she has 2 kids already, plus doesn´t really have a faith other than that God is real and she wants to know His will. The lessons have all gone quite well and she asks lots of questions. She´s finally gonna come to church this weekend, and hopefully there she´ll realize it´s not just church to go to every week to show God you have faith, but that it´s Jesus Christ´s church and a part of God´s plan for everyone to return to Him.

We actually have a really good rodizio here called ``Taverna Gaucho´´ that is popular among the Elders. In fact, the place has a Book of Mormon on it´s shelf placed for everyone to see right behind the receptionist´s desk. It´s a really good place actually. A little less formal than Novilhos, but the food is still really good, and it´s about $9 to eat all you can eat buffet, meat off the sword, and desert pizza which is the best part actually. I love that place. Our churrasco was lots of meat on long sword-like scewers. It´s totally normal here in Brasil, not just some cool thing to amuse Americanos lá nos Estados Unidos.

As for my companion, he´s pretty trunkie. He goes home next Wednesday. He likes to visit member´s homes a lot. The days can kind of drag on that way. When we have good days though, it´s pretty crazy how fast it all goes. It can get pretty annoying when he´s ready to go home at about 8:15 so we can make something to eat instead of try and hit up one more investigator. Yesterday for instance was the final game of the Brasilian soccer tournement, so the city was absolutely crazy as can be. It sounded like war. I´m not even kidding. People with fireworks (only the ones that sound like bursts of gunfire in the distace or bombs going off, never the screeming kind or shiny kind, just loud) all day, and after freaking Corinthians, the preferred team of São Paulo won the cup, people were driving cars up and down the road honking at everything, fireworks going off all over the place, and people screaming nonsense like they were charging into a firefight. Anyway, because of this, my companion figured we wouldn´t find any success, so we stayed home and he said he wasn´t feeling well anyway, so he slept a lot. I tried to study most of the time, but with the war between the Corinthianos and everyone else outside, it was hard to focus.

Here´s our cool story from this week. One of our recent converts in the ward called us up and said ``I have a friend that could really use your message. Can you guys come and teach her today?´´ That was one of the best phonecalls we´ve recieved this week. Finally a reference from the ward. That´s how baptisms usually happen. Anyway, we got there and her friend, who´s about 25, starts to tell us her story. Her mom has been a real jerk to her lately, so she´s been living with various friends. Because of what her mom has been saying, she´s felt pretty worthless and the last day or so she´d felt suicidal, thinking it would be better to leave everyone alone. So we whipped out the Plan of Salvation lesson for her, and really emphasized that it´s not a plan for humanity, but for each human being/child of God, and that it´s a plan for us to find happiness here because he cares about each one of us. She cried a lot explaining her story, but after the lesson she looked better. We also saw her at Stake Conference yesterday (which had a bunch of really good talks a messages about how the Gospel brings happiness and isn´t just for this life here on Earth), and we´re hoping to talk with her more and get her active in church with her member friend.

I could use some more good books. I´ve already read Believing ChristThe Miracle of ForgivenessJesus the Christ, and Our Heritage. I havne´t seen any strict rules from our President here on reading. The MTC in Provo had lots of church books for sale, so I think it´d be fine so long as it´s pretty appropriate. I don´t need anything on Kolob or FHE ideas for newly-weds, but I like to read in my bed at night before I go to sleep, and I´m about out of material aside from the Liahona in Português.

Here´s a story for Lars: we were teaching a young man on the street in front of his friend´s house. My companion was talking, and as I was listening to him, I noticed something moving on the other side of the street. As I looked into the yard across the street through their front gate, I saw a turtle slowly make it´s way across the walkway to the front door to the other side of the yard like nothing else existed in the world except the other side of the yard. He seemed to be in a hurry, but it still took him about 30 seconds to cross about 6 ft. of the yard I could see. I don´t think I´ve ever seen anyone with a turtle as a free-roaming pet in their front yard, but I have now. I don´t think it keeps burglers out though.

Happy Birthday Kortney.

Also, the Christmas card was pretty cool. Now that you did soccer this year, what´s next year going to be if you stick to a Brasil theme? 

Anyway, that´s this week. Hope this week is good with December starting and stuff. I also hope with Winter Break coming up, I´ll get some better emails from Stephanie. Anyway, let me know if it happens to snow or anything. It´s freakin hot here. 

Elder Candland