Monday, February 27, 2012

Week 27

So this week has been pretty good. We´ve got 3 progressing investigators now. Two of them have baptismal dates now. One of those dates is the lady who came to church on her own last Sunday. She lives with her daughter who is also very interested in the church. We´re about 99% certain that both of them will be baptized. It´s kind of funny that my only other people I´ve seen accept the Gospel and be baptized were another single mom and her daughter. They came to church one day on their own as well. With the new mom and daughter here, we´ve been able to teach them with a member present each lesson, and it´s been incredibly helpful to have someone there who they know from church already and can relate to. It really makes a more comfortable atmosphere. It´s pretty tough for anyone to relate to two boys who only wear church clothes and don´t do anything fun. 

It´s very apparent that when someone comes to church on their own, they usually have interest in the church, and a potential desire to join. I also have a very strong belief that the majority of people who are interested in the church need to go to church before they´ll really know it´s true. We can teach them all we want about the Gospel, and they can know the Book of Mormon is true as well, but going to church is pretty important. Especially here. There are SO MANY churches here. There are about 5 other big ones that find most people a part of, but there are still a ton of other random churches that people start up to make a profit. Random thought: Almost all other churches here require some form of ``tithing´´ in order to be a member or to receive blessings from God, but you can still say they´re all non-prophet organizations. Anyway, when the people see that the church is run differently than all others here, it really helps.

There´s this other family we have been visiting. If you remember about 2 months ago, we went to a family´s home on fast Sunday while fasting, and they invited us to their churrasco, but we had to say no since we were still fasting. We´ve been going back during this last month, but it´s been hard to teach much there. The dad shows a lot of interest, but he can´t help but talk about all sorts of other things he knows about the Bible and how he understands religion and the gospel. We love this family though. They´re all really close, they always are together on the weekends, and there are 5 kids, which is a lot here in São Paulo. They all call us their American friends. They sometimes have a hard time remembering our names (mostly mine) so they´ve taken to calling me Pedro and Elder Davis Tiago (that´s Peter and James (don´t ask why James´ name was changed to Tiago). Anyway, they had a huge family reunion/churrasco at their house on Saturday and they made us stay. The food was so good. They had the usual meat-on-swords deal, salad, rice, normal stuff, but they also had pealed ginger to eat with the meat. That was a really good idea. There was also cheese on a stick that they grilled up. The mom made this really good garlic sauce and I asked for the recipe. She said she just puts a big garlic clove and a cup of milk in the blender and slowly adds oil as it´s blending. I´m gonna have to figure out the oil-to-milk ratio. 

I get excited when I think about being able to use Português back in the US, but I can´t really think of many opportunities other than a few different jobs. We don´t have a whole lot of Brasileiros in Washington either. 

There were a few other recipes I was hoping you guys could send me (on paper in a letter preferably). Our brownie recipe from scratch, the Kosorok cookie recipe, our lasagna, and ... that´s it for now I forgot the other if there was one. 

Alright, I need to reply to Kortney now. 
-Elder Candland

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week 26

Caranval has started up now and it´s really difficult to find people home, or not partying at home. We try to make lots of contacts, but right now it´s very difficult. We just keep trying though. Carnaval is pretty chill here in São Domingos though. It´s pretty empty, but not so empty that we can´t even find people to talk to. It´s kind of helped seperate some tares and wheat; for carnaval, everyone goes to the beach to party, so that means anyone who stayed home is lazy, poor, OR people who aren´t interested in getting drunk, half-naked/all-naked people, etc. We hope to find some solid people during this time.

We saw some crazy stuff this week. One morning, we got a call from a member that wanted us to come over and help him out with a problem he had. He´d gotten into one of those spam emails from some guy in Kasakstahn that´s like ``I am a reliable person who has information on your dead cousin that is rich. His money is locked away in a bank in China and we need your information and some money to get it out for you. Can we split it 50/50?´´ Anyway, the guy doesn´t speak English, but all his emails were in English from Google Translate. This member had a little bit of doubt, but since he speaks no English, he could´t really pick out the really obvious grammar problems and weird words and such. At on part of the an email this guys was like ``I promise I am good person and trustworthy. I cross my heart with you.´´ Woah, it´s cool your an honest person, but it´s kinda weird you crossed your heart with me. Anyway, we told him it was totally a scam and he was thanked us for confirming his doubt, and we left. Okay, that´s not so crazy, but one afternoon as we  were walking down the street like missionaries, we saw this car go driving past us pretty fast, then he slammed on his brakes, then reversed as fast as he could. In just a few seconds I saw him heading right for another car and said in my mind ``Woah! He´s gonna hit that lady driving behind him!´´ but then I noticed he had this really angry look on his face and my thought immediately changed to ``WOAH! He´s trying to hit that lady!´´ Then, as I predicted, he hit her pretty good on the front, and then sped off. The lady chased after him and I caught a glimpse of her 14-year-old daughter crying in the passenger seat. I had no idea what the motive was, but I was like ``Did that just happen...?´´

Thanks for the maple syrup recipe. I also can´t think of any other things I might need in a package any time soon.

Anyway, one last thing. If there´s anything good that´s happened this week, it´s this this: we met a lady in the supermarket and she asked us where the nearest church is. We gave her directions and the time of the meetings, then thought nothing of it. People ask us where our church is all the time, but no one ever goes to church. Anwyay, you guessed it: she went to church on her own accord. She just showed up and attend all 3 hours. We had a class on the Holy Ghost, talking about who He is, when Christ left Him with the Apostles, and how he helps us today. She ended up bearing her testimony in class that it was the Holy Ghost that told her to go to the store to buy something even though she didn´t need anything. She said she knows she was guided there to talk to us. We marked to teach her tomorrow. We´re excited out of our minds. It´s been almost 3 weeks since we´ve been able to enter anyone´s house an teach an actual lesson.

That´s all for now. Hope the holiday weekend is pretty enjoyable. This week looks pretty good for us, so I´ll let you know how it goes on Monday. It´s still really really hot though. I shower twice a day. I´ve never showered at night, then woken up sweaty and gross the next morning. I don´t use a blanket at night. Just a fan. I stay plenty warm. Anyway, until Monday.
-Elder Candland

Elder Davis thinking pensively before going to sleep.

We made some pastels for lunch one day. They´re like the normal thing to buy on the street here in São Paulo.

 They´re unhealthy.

We know they´re unhealthy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Week 25

So I don´t have a lot of time today on my email. We´re pretty much out of money until Wednesday, so I have only 20 minutes to type this up right now.

It´s hot. We made riceasaurus for lunch today. A drunk hobo slid down a muddy hill laughing and sticking his tongue out at us. There are bananas here the size of my forearm. But being a missionary is way good.

A few things I need are another crayon from Rylee so I can mark my scriptures. I need yellow. I´ve been using the one she gave me back in May, but It´s practically unusable now since I used it so much. Also, I need a nice oil capsule. I haven´t been able to find mine for a long time now. The ones they sell here at the temple store are really really cheap.

We had coconut bread for sacrament yesterday.

A crazy lady that we met back in December got paid this last week, and she was so excited that she called out to us from her church, then took us to a bakery and bought us some soda and cake. The funniest part is we were just heading to the bishop´s birthday party to get some cake.

There´s an Elder in my district who has been getting a lot of references from this guy in their ward. It turns out he used to be a drug dealer and is sending them to all of his old buyers. He said when they get there, the guy opens the door, asks who sent them, and when they say who, the guy gets all scared, throws on a shirt and is like ``Hey man, look, I swear I payed him back, things should be good now. I don´t need any more trouble.´´
No more success this week. It´s been really tough to get a hold of anyone and then actually meet with them. We haven´t taught a solid lesson in weeks now. The best we´ve done is just teach random people on the street that we contact. It´s usually a quick lesson on the Restoration, and then they say `thanks.´

I was reading in D&C 135 and found this in verse 6: ``... and that if the fire can scathe a green tree for the glory of God, how easy it will burn up the dry trees to purify the vinyard of corruption.´´ So it talks about the tares and the wheat basically, but I like to look at is as us needing to be burned a little in order to improve our ``vinyard´´ and such.

Something interesting I´ve learned from Português is that in Português, to magnify (magnificar) is to make something magnificent. That´s what the Latin root means. In English, we use it for making something bigger. But magnifying our callings is actually not going beyond the limits of the calling. That actually kind of doesn´t make sense, especially for people who receive certain keys for their calling. They can´t go outside their bounds. We should make our callings magnificent. I jsut read a quote from President Thomas S. Monson´s book today that talked about how to magnify our calling. Just as usual, his answer wasn´t anything extraordinary. He said to do just what is required of us, as Christ would.
One other thing. We had some cooking lessons at lunch on Saturday. I´ve already written a letter with some of the stuff I learned since it would take a long time to write in an email. Which reminds me, can you guys find a recipe for maple syrup for imitation maple? I´m pretty sure I need corn syrup, but I don´t think they have that here. 

Anyway, that´s all for now. I hope next week you guys can find those pdf files for me. Talk to you on Monday.


-Elder Candland

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Week 24

So we went to the temple today. It´s pretty cool to go through in another language. I also wish we could go to the temple more often here on the mission. I don´t think it´ll be too difficult to be motivated to go a lot after the mission. Maybe that´s what they´re doing, just teasing us with very little temple time to make us want to go after the mission. Anyway, that´s why I didn´t email on Monday.

Today I have exactly 8 months in the mission. It kind of seems like a lot, but not really. I´m gonna try and convince myself that´s good and that I still have 16 months left of the best two years. I love the mission, but these last few weeks, even though I´m with the best companion I´ve had on the mission, have been a little disappointing. No one we contact on the street shows any interest in the same church that Jesus Christ himself taught. That just doesn´t seem to interest anyone. Neither does having a prophet called by God to recieve revelation for us. I don´t get it. Also, none of our investigators have really progressed since like 3 weeks ago. There was one night that we were both pretty disappointed, so we just went and knocked on a bunch of doors. We found no one, but we really tried our best to share what we have with the people on that street. By the end of the night, we felt better. That´s probably because we scheduled an appointment to go make American pancakes at an investigators house, then teach them. That ended the night well.

Oh, but Jordan did right me and I just got his letter this week. I´ve got a ton of letters I´m waiting to send off until I have enough money again. We´re running pretty tight in this area because a lot of lunches had fallen through in January. This month should be better.

Aside from not finding much success with our investigators, our week was full of little cool things that don´t really relate to missionary work. One, we were tired and sat down on the sidewalk for a few minutes. While we were sitting, a little older lady came running out of her house across the street and gave us a little bag with some soda, crackers, and two pieces of homemade breakfast casserole. She dropped it in Elder Davis´ hands and ran before we could even say thanks, so we´re trying to get back there, say thanks, and maybe sneak in a lesson. On sunday, we got a ride from a member to lunch from church, and his car just so happens to be an old Volkswagon bus, but it´s missing all of the seats in the back. It also doesn´t have windows, and there´s not pretty carpeting on the floor or walls. We basically rode around in on top of the engine in this completely barren bus. It looked like a moive, and we both agreed that we needed to have assault rifles. That night we went and made the pancakes with a family we´re teaching. That was pretty funny because they were always saying how much it looked just like all the cartoons do with a huge stack of pancakes and maple syrup. 

Oh ya, and that Syfy movie they´re making in Carnation. I hope it´s just as bad as all the rest. I´d like to be home and watch what they do. From their movies, I´m not sure I´d want to pay too close attention to what they do, but it´s a somewhat professional crew actually filming right there. It´d be nice to see what they do. I hope Andrew´s at least taking some notes.

Well, that´s about it. I know I forgot a few things, but I need to go now. I´ll just right anything I forgot in my email 5 days from now. Talk to you then.
-Elder Candland

 Some cool soda I found here. The lid is a normal soda can, but the rest was plastic. The soda itself was pretty good too. carbonated lemon juice with mint. Which reminds me, I forgot to mention that an Elder gave me root beer extract, so we´ve made our own root beer since they don´t have it here in Brasil. Just Guaraná, Cocacola, Pepsi, Itubaína, Sprite, Fanta, and any kind of cheap rip-off of them.

How most of my study times are. It´s SUPER hot right now. We wake up and our house is already 85 degrees. It´s so awful. There is no relief.

Elder Davis and I at the São Paulo Temple.

Elder Larsen was there too.