Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 23

So first thing. I forgot to mention last week that I scored a nice, well-used, guitar. It´s like a classical acoustic guitar with the 3 higher pitched strings made of nylon. It´s pretty cool, just a little beat up, missing it´s strings, the nut, and the piece of porcelain for the bridge. I bought some strings the other day, and there´s an inactive guy in our ward we´ve been working with for some time. He plays guitar really well and has even made his own guitars. He offered to fix it up for me if I could get him some strings. I´m hoping he can get it done. Elder Davis has a recorder now that he finally got. We´ve got plans to play some sweet hymns. We heard M. Russel Ballard may be coming up for something soon, and we thought it would be way cool to play a musical number during the meeting. That all depends on him actually being here and us having something ready before the meeting. It´s all rumors right now though.

About the package you´re getting ready. I just used up my last good pen. We use pens a ton every day, and they´re kind of expensive here. Or maybe they just look that way since I´m a really poor missionary. Anyway, I could use some nicer pens. Like at least 5. I´m not a huge fan of the pens that bleed a lot either, but even worse is the ballpoint ones that scratch when you write since they´re cheap.

I finally finished my John Bytheway book this weekend. It was a pretty good book. I don´t know if you looked through it, but only the first chapter is how-to-get-through-almost-anything. Then the second chapter leads right in on how to strengthen your marriage. Either way, it was a good book and I´m starting the Thomas S. Monson one now.

I also am starting to have hope for Lars now. Stake dances and choir. Now he just needs to get over his social anxiety and just talk to people. Maybe all these social activities will help. I won´t be too worried until his senior year though.

Anyway, Carnaval is coming up, so I´m not too excited for that. No one apparently is here during carnaval. Everyone heads to the beaches. I guess it´ll be kind of quiet and peaceful here though. But this week we didn´t meet with any of the promising investigators we have. They´re all out of town. Since January is their summer vacation, most people go out of town for the month. No one was at home, or had time with family stuff going on. It´s so lame. And still nobody is keepin our commitments we leave with them. Oh, and it´s been about 3 months since I´ve had an investigator at church. We´re still trying and it´s still good to be here working. I just wish these people understood that we´re not just some other church.

I think maybe the coolest thing this week was we got invited to a Jehovah´s Witness´s house the other day. She started trying to teach us, but we kind of turned it around and started teaching her, but with authority. Anyway, we asked her to keep a Book of Mormon in case someone else in her family has interest. She wouldn´t keep it, but then she tried to give us one of her books. We accepted it on terms that she kept our book as well. Anyway, I already have a Jehovah´s Witness book. It´s in my Apostacy Collection I´ve started on the mission. 

That´s my week. I´ll talk to you guys again next week. 
-Elder Candland

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week 22

Oh man this week has been tough for us. We scheduled so many appointments with our priority investigators, but we only got to teach 2 of them. Our golden families are either traveling or keep bailing out on us for reasons they think are more important than finding the gospel. Not to mention it´s been pouring rain almost all week, and on Thursday, I lost my umbrella somehow, so I had to borrow one from a member for a day. It was hidious green and leapord print. Que vergonha cara. 

We finally have another date for baptism. OOOOH my goodness it´s so hard to get anyone baptized here. First they have to accept the invitation to be baptized. We had 2 dates before, but they both fell through because they weren´t progressing. They just wanted to keep learning from us, but they would never read, never go to church. It´s driving me crazy. It´s so frustrating when we explain it all very clearly that our message does them no good until they act for themselves, keep our commitments, go to church, and get baptized. The thing that bothers me most is when people say ``Oh, I´ve already got a church, thanks.´´ It´s not A church, it´s THE church. It´s like if they said ``Thanks, I already have a watch,´´ but that watch doesn´t have batteries. It´s doing them little good without the authority. I swear no one here gets it. Maybe this boy Alexandre we´re teaching gets it. He said he´s recieved an answer that the Book of Mormon is true. That´s way cool. He knows it too, and he´s accepted the invitation to be baptized. The only problem is his dad was baptized a long time ago and stopped going to church after only a few months of his baptism. His mom now is very religious in her church, and I´m pretty sure she doesn´t want him getting baptized. He´s 18, so he doesn´t NEED her permission, but  I think he´ll chicken out if his mom shows any opposition. Oh man it´s tough work down here.

I just got two packages today. One from you guys with two books. Following Christ and Discourses of Brigham Young I believe. The customs thing said candy bars, but there weren´t any. The cake is a lie. I guess the candy bars too. I also got a book from Grandpa. It´s from the MTC. I´ll have to write back saying thanks. 

The 'snakes' here are stupid. They like to try and talk English to you, but it´s more like they´re talking at you. They just shout things like Hey baby wait for me, I love you, Delicious, Sexy, etc. It´s abnoxious. Elder Davis and I decided that the way they  influxuate their words sounds kind of like Stephen Hawkings wheelchair talking, just with the timbre of a girls voice.

Oh ya, Elder Davis and I are staying here in São Domingos for another transfer for sure. We found out today, but we kind of already knew it. I woulnd´t be surprised to see one more.

So as for members homes, we don´t really chill at them. I always feel bad after a talk I hear by Elder Bednar. Basically, there were some Elders at his house one day, for like 3 hours or so, just playing around with the kids when they could have been working, and afterword, right before they left, they asked if Elder Bednar had any references for them. Elder Bednar said something like ``Elders, we love having you over, but you just sat around playing and watching TV for 3 hours. We don´t have any references for Elders like you. You should have come in, eaten dinner, and left a message in about 45 minutes, and then gone out immediately to do the sacred work for which you are called. Come back in a few weeks, try again, and maybe we´ll have some references for you.´´ I´d have pooped myself if that ever happened to me by Elder Bednar, so I always remember that talk when we´re at a member´s home. If it wasn´t your home they were going to, I´d maybe recommend finding that talk online and printing it off for them as the Ward Mission Leader.

Well, that´s about my week. Hopefully this next week has some cool or exciting things to talk about. Have Sister Barrett send Elder Barrett my address if she hasn´t already. I haven´t heard from him since the MTC, and I´ve mailed him a letter since then. Have a good week back at school and stuff. I´ll send a few more pictures now.
-Elder Candland

Some sweet watches everyone has here. You can mix and match all the different colors and stuff. They´re too hip.

A delicous pizza we bought this week. It´s condensed milk, bananas, cinnimon, and mozzarella cheese. Oh my goodness it was so good.

Pizza and KUAT! Guaraná. WUAT?!

This is Wemmerson. He inhabits the section of the white board that holds our baptisms. He only appears when we don´t have baptisms.

This is Demi and her cat Kimi. We found them on a notebook for little girls and we decided she should inhabit the board when we have a date on there.

We like this cake thing here called Panetone. After Christmas it goes on sale.

Here´s my nametag. I found the super macro setting on my camera and started messing around.

Week 21

I´m pretty jeaulous about the snow actually. It hasn´t been too terribly hot here the last few days because it´s been mostly raining. We always have our umbrellas because it will just randomly start raining during the day. It´s been a lot like Carnation weather the last few days aside from still being about 80 degrees even when it´s raining. I think I´m starting to get used to the heat a little. If it hits about 70 degrees in the house, I start to get a little chilly. I still only sleep with the sheets on. I haven´t used an actual blanket for ever, and each night I have the fan blowing on me. I got the pictures of the snow, and the first one has Rylee and Jenna eating snow, but the first thing I saw was Rylee´s Hello Kitty earmuffs. Is Hello Kitty pretty big right now? Do they have a TV show for her? I know there´s a show for My Little Pony that´s supposed to be pretty good. It´s targeted toward little kids, but it sounds like there´s a huge internet fan base of 20 - 35 year-old guys called ``Bronies.´´

About the rodizio you went to, dad. I´m not exactly sure on the huge croutans, but I know the bread crumbs thing is called ``Farofa.´´ It´s something really popular in the Northwest of Brasil. I really like it. I don´t usually put it on my meat, but over my rice and beans. It´s basically flour (i´m not sure what kind of flour, it´s not wheat), salt, garlic, and other herbs. Also, I don´t know if they had it there, but my favorite kind of beans are the really dark kind with slices of sausage. There´s always the regular light brown colored ones, but the dark beans are my favorite. I´m still not sure what they´re called, but I´m almost certain it´s Feijoada.

Anyway, Brasil is pretty awesome. The other day we went down to the street market again. I´m starting to like that place. We bought a ton of really good fruit for about $12. We got really good bananas, limes, small peaches, goiaba, mangos, and maracujá. We´ve been eating some really good fruit at home this last week. Goiaba is so good. 

The last few weeks have been really bad for our lunches here because the ward just split and half the sisters in the ward think they´re off the hook and don´t pick up their phones when we call to confirm. So we´ve been having to buy lots of food, and we don´t get a whole lot of money on our mission cards, so we ran out of money fairly quick. 

Not a whole lot of stuff happened this week. We haven´t been seeing a lot of success here yet even though we´ve been working really hard. The free agency of the investigators is getting really annoying. They won´t go to church (even if they tell us they will), they rarely read from the Book of Mormon when we ask, and they never pray about it. Come on guys, that´s how you´re gonna now. I don´t now if we can get any clearer about it. We tell them all about the blessings of the Gospel, then we tell them about how they themselves can know it´s true, and that they can know by reading the Book of Mormon and then praying about it. People here are lazy I think. We have found a few new people we´re excited about, but I´m getting a little discouraged too, because we´ve found so many people we´ve been really excited about after the first lesson or so. Oh well, I talked with President Martins the other day at our interviews and he talked about how just having missionaries in an area ``holding the ground´´ (like in war when you held the ground, the enemy didn´t advance any more) is a success. I have seen a lot of help from the Lord though. More than I´ve seen before on the mission. I think it´s because both of us want to work hard and be obedient.

What´s Dallin´s email? Does he actually use it or check it often? I think it´d be good to send a few emails back and forth with him to start helping get ready for the mission.

That´s pretty much it for the week here. We´re really hoping to have a good solid week this next week. We´ll see. We´ve got lots of people we´re working with. One of them is bound to progress. Talk to you guys next monday.

-Elder Candland

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Week 20

Alrighty, this week has been pretty awesome I think. It hasn´t been super successful when it comes to progressing investigators, but since we just had the ward split, we´ve been sort of opening the area a little. We lost a few areas we already had some potential investigators, and got some brand new area where I´ve never even been before. The Stake President and his family are in our ward now, and it turns out I taught his sister the lessons in my last area. She had a date for baptism too, but she couldn´t make it to church because she cares for a really old lady on Sundays. Anyway, we´ve been doing lots of tracting this week again. We got 12 new investigators though. 

We found a big family of 7, who already have faith, but not a church. They really really liked talking with us Americans, so they invited us to come back any time. That night we found them, the dad said ``Alright, so I´m gonna make you guys an offer. We´re going to be having a churrasco tonight for my son´s birthday; if you guys stay, we´ll be having more people over, and you can teach all of us about your church.´´ WHAT!?!? YES! Wait! Dang it, we already have an appointment, not to mention we´re fasting... That was so hard to turn down. I wanted to stay there so bad, but we had to say, ``Sorry, we can´t stay. We´re actually fasting, and we have another appointment at 7:30. 

We´ve found a few other people as well, but one of the old investigators from the Area Book actually turned out really well. We finally got him at home and went in to talk with him. He´s already had all of the lessons. The record says he´d had a problem with drugs and that´s been the biggest reason why he wasn´t baptized we think. When we saw him, he looked really clean, so we´re really hoping he´s cleaned up and we can get him set for a date. When we got there, we weren´t sure what we should teach about, so we just asked a bunch of questions and talked a little while. Then we just started talking about Jesus Christ´s Gospel of faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We gave him a pamphlet and marked a place for him to read in the Book of Mormon. He was kind of looking through the pamphlet as we were both testifying of the blessings that come from the gospel, and we noticed he kind of stopped on the baptism page for about 20 seconds or so. Anyway, when we go back, we´re gonna set a date for him, we´re pretty sure.

I was thinking about some other kinds of things I´d like from the US. Tootsie rolls for sure, especially because they travel better than cookies. Fruit Leather too. Another Elder here had some, and now I really want it. I also haven´t been doing super good at taking my vitamins each morning. I think some simple gummie vitamins would be better.

Today, we hiked Jaraguá Peak. It was pretty sweet. It looks comparable to Mount Si, but it turned out to be a pretty fast hike. I took a few pictures and stuff I´ll send in another email. It was our entire zone. 

I´ve been reading the John Bytheway book. It´s pretty good, and I´m really looking forward to the President Monson book.

I got the package with the candy and mixes, the stocking/watch/guitar book, the two books/camera/ties/socks, and the ward letters. I think that´s only 4 actually. 

I never read the Hunger Games, but I´ve actually heard a lot of good stuff about them and figure I will after the mission.

Alright, that´s it. I´ll send some pictures now.

-Elder Candland

The first is like the wake up in the jungle not knowing where you are or what happened picture.

We found this shrine thing on the trail. We called it the recharge station.

Most of our zone.

Elder Davis and I again.

That´s Elder Tippets.

Part one of the São Paulo panorama.

Part 2, it continues where part one left off. Almost.

A favela.

The city center.

This dog basically followed us from the bottom, to the top, and all the way back down like our guide. We named him Thor, then we realized it was a girl, and named her Thora.

Me and Thora.

The zone at the very top.

There are monkies in the jungle. They´re just like squirrels for Brazil apparently. Only the Americans were super excited about them. This video is like a first-person monkey feeding game.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Week 19

It´s been a crazy week for us down here. Especially since it´s been the week between Christmas (well, actually Natal since it´s not exactly the same as Christmas), and New Years. Natal basically carries over a little through this week. We had a zone meeting on Tuesday, and our zone leaders laid down some statistics for us showing us that our zone was only teaching about 0.3 lessons per hour on average. Our entire zone of 5 companionships. That was really embarrassing. Since I´m not very used to being the one talking, we hadn´t been making too many street contacts during the day; just walking from investigator to investigator hoping someone would let us in. Anyway, we set a goal to teach a minimum of 10 lessons per day. That means we needed to make a lot more... street contacts... oh no. Not my favorite when I´m still not speaking perfectly. Anyway, we´ve been doing a ton of talking to random new people, and lots of tracting. We´ve found a good handful of people who show interest and have said we can come back. That´s been pretty cool for us.

Anyway, some of these contacts happen very ``randomly.´´ We´ll be having a bad day, or not much success, and then something crazy happens and we find someone interested. Okay, so there´s no way it´s random, but it always catches us by surprise. One day, we just weren´t having any success, then we decided to knock on a few doors. We ran into this guy named Diego. He came out to talk to us at his gate instead of from the window or door. We talked with him for about 10 minutes about our message, and we gave him a Book of Mormon. He seemed excited to have a new interesting book to read. He said he liked to look for new wisdom in his life and I was like ``Wisdom huh? Here´s a pamphlet about something called `The Word of Wisdom.´ He took that, and was like ``You gave me a book, now I want to give you one.´´ Then he ran inside and got this tiny little pocket-sized book called `Minutes of Wisdom.´ Each page is a different thought. It´s actually really cool. Anyway, then his ex-wife and kid came to the front door, and she showed even more interest in our message. There was a point where, after asking lots of questions, she asked ``Hmmm... what more can I ask about?´´ And we got all excited and I shot out tithing and aught her about tithing really quick. And on New Years Eve, we went to an investigators house to invite her to church the next day. She happened to be there which was a miracle already. Then she invited us inside after we invited her to church. As we were there, some guy came out of the living room and Aline (the investigator) asked him to sit down and here a quick word from the Elders. We felt like we should read really quick about the Anti-Nephi-Lehis and how their story can relate to us. Then after we ended, another guy came in, and straight up asked us if he could have a Book of Mormon. We gladly handed it over and he said he´d start reading that night! Too bad he doesn´t live in our area. Anyway, I quickly told the story of the 2,000 sons of Helaman, and the first guy was like ``That´s in there? I want one too!´´ So we gave him one, and he said to come over any time. It´s been such a cool week with things like that.

One day, we were walking home and noticed a group of kids our age kind of giggling and looking at us. Then one kind of said just loud enough for us to hear ``I wonder if they speak Português.´´ So we snatched the opportunity and said yes. They kind of stopped and we walked over to them. They started asking questions and stuff about us and where we´re from. They got all excited when they found out we´re Americans. We talked a lot about the mission: what, why, for how long, etc. We were just waiting for them to ask about what we taught. Eventually one did and we (I believe) threw in the Restoration lesson really quickly and smoothly. Boom. Anyway, one added me to facebook from her phone and some of them looked like they were gonna pee themselves because of how cool they thought it was to talk with Americans their age that seemed (mostly) normal. Anyway, we hope we left them with a good impression of the Elders.

Yesterday, about 10 minutes before church the bishop asked if I could fill in a gap of about 10 minutes and give a talk on prayer. I have to say, it was really good. I spent as much time as I could preparing, and the Holy Ghost filled in the rest for me. I found about 2 scriptures and remembered a few personal stories on prayer and laid down a solid talk. When I first got up there, I was a little nervous since we had 2 wards meeting at the same time to clear up any confusion about the ward split, but after about 30 seconds when I started getting some help, I forgot all about it.

Anwyay, we´ve been doing a lot of tracting, making contacts, and just working hard. It´s been an awesome week. I´ll send some pictures finally. One is from Elder Davis´ camera, but the other is from mine. I finally broke down and bought one.

Just kidding, I got 3 packages from you guys in the mail today. The ties/camera, the books/truffles, and the binder from the ward.

Also, I´m glad to hear that Rylee seems to like Star Wars. That´s pretty cool. Hello Kitty and Star Wars. Good combo for a little 6-year-old girl.

Anyway, have another good week. Good luck with Senior Project Dallin/mom and dad. It´s super lame, or as Elder Davis would say ``Sub-optimal.´´

Elder Candland

Here are a couple of us. Also, I really like the tie you guys sent me. The one I´m wearing.

This is the bathroom. It´s much better than the last, but still strange. It´s all half a step lower than the rest of the house. 

 This is our kitchen/diningroom.

This is the front of the house. It´s a good one.

Here´s a picture of a few zones from here on Christmas. I got this in the mail from the office.