Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week 48

Alright, this week was a pretty good week. I´m back to the point where I dread having to leave the mission. I don´t want to leave Brasil either. Maybe it´s just the mission I don´t want to leave, but I really like the people here. People say hi to each other on the street and if you met someone yesterday, today they´ll probably invite you in for dinner.

Anyway, first story: We had lots of people at church this Sunday. We´re teaching this family of 6 whose parents are the only members. They came back to church with us for the first time in about 9 years. Their kids enjoyed it too and were trying harder than their parents to sing the hymns which are not easy in Português because they have to smash a bunch of big words together in order to keep the same melodies. They´re the family that made the cake in the photos I´ll send.

Sunday for lunch we went to a rich member´s home. He´s been to the US a bunch of times and really likes BBQ ribs. He made some for us that were better than a lot of Americans. With real BBQ sauce purchased on home soil. It was divine.

There´s this lady, Lenne, that we´re teaching. She´s really interested and humble and accepts everything we say as 100% true (which is good when utterance is put into our mouths). The other day we passed by to see how she´s doing with her cigarette and coffee addictions. Her entire family was there and she assembled everyone in the family room to hear about the bible and Jesus. To start off the message she mentioned that her niece is under 24-hour observation in the hospital because she hit her head on the concrete floor. Then she opened up randomly in the bible and read the first thing she found Lamentations 3:18-19:

18 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord:

19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.

... okay, that´s good I suppose. At least you´re trying. Then she got down on her knees, handed us the bible, and practically begged us to explain these verses to her. I don´t really actually know much about the book of Lamentations since it´s just full of Jeremiah lamenting. It´s not really full of poweful scripture and doctrine. Then she opened up the Book of Mormon (Okay, this could be good) and read to us everything that she managed to read the night before. It happened to be in Alma 32 which is full of lots of really good stuff, but she only read the 1st four verses:

And it came to pass that they did go forth, and began to preach the word of God unto the people, entering into their synagogues, and into their houses; yea, and even they did preach the word in their streets.

 And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the apoor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel—

 Therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as adross; therefore they were bpoor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart.

 Now, as Alma was teaching and speaking unto the people upon the hill aOnidah, there came a great bmultitude unto him, who were those of whom we have been speaking, of whom were cpoor in heart, because of their poverty as to the things of the world.

So we took this as an opportunity to explain that it´s exactly what we do and explained our message briefly.

Anyway, as for missionary work and reactivation I say the following:
There´s a quote in PMG in chapter 9 in the section members. It´s Gordon B. Hinckly and starts off talking about knocking on doors and such, but that there´s a better way to find new investigators and it´s through members. Last Sunday, we had invited about 12 people to church; one came because she has a friend in the ward, and someone else came who also has a friend in the ward. Of the 12 we, as missionaries tried to get to church, only one we actually invited came, and someone we didn´t even know came because of a friend. The members are very important in the work and growth of the ward.

Reactivation as well. Sometimes the Lord won´t send the Elders His prepared and elect children because the ward is still weak and He doesn´t want those precious children to be baptized, then fall back into their previous lives. Our center needs to be strong before we can manage to grow outward; or we need a rock for a foundation and not a sandy shore that comes and goes with the tide.
Puppies are for cool people in Brasil.

This is a long banana vine thing that looks like an alien from Metroid.

Here´s an old Sega console. I don´t even remember the name.

And this is a delicious chocolate cake the family of the Sega made for us one night.

Okay, that´s it. We´re late for our appointment now. Until next week.
-Elder Candland

Week 47

Well this week was finally a bearable normal week. It's been a while. We have several investigators who are actually progressing, we are working with members* and it's not miserable every day. We also had 2 investigators** in church yesterday. Not to mention the area is just straight up better.

*The ward here has apparently been dealing with lame missionaries for the last 6-8 months and a lot of the members had lost lots of confidence in the Elders. The last transfer or two the Elders here had been working on winning the trust of the members again, but It looks like in the last 4-5 weeks the Elders finally started getting help from the members.

**Little story to show the importance of members. We went around Thursday, Friday and Saturday making sure to commit all of our investigators to come to church on Sunday. We had in total about 10 - 12 people who had said they would be there, and about 6 were pretty solid. When we got to church, we only had 2 investigators there. One of which we didn't invite, but has a friend in the ward that brought her. The other also has a friend in the ward who made sure to call and confirm that she'd also come to church. None of the investigators that only we invited came to church. Only the ones who have friends helping out. I think that may have been part of the problem in my last area. The ward wasn't so helpful with investigators.

There's an inactive family we found that moved here about 3 years ago and no one in the ward knows them. We've been working with them for a little while, and they've been progressing very well. The parents are both members, and they have 4 kids that aren't members. The goal is to help Ruben, the dad, get back into church so he can receive the priesthood and baptize his 3 oldest kids. I'm really excited for this family, they're a bunch of really good people.

So one day I decided to count all of the Volkswagon Gols I saw. I spotted about 46 without recounting any. And we had a good day too. We were in lots of homes that day. Yesterday I saw just over 50. It's a popular car here in Brasil. I'm pretty sure they don't sell them in the US either. I'm going to have to make friends with a forwarding agent to help me out after the mission.

Oh ya, Elder Dial has 10 months on the mission right now, so he's a little newer. He also didn't get his visa until a few weeks after leaving the MTC, so he's been in Brasil for about 7 months.

Oh ya, I ran into Elder Paxman at the last transfer. He was like "Dude, your new bishop!" And I said "I know right?"

That ends my week too. I have a few photos I'll send now. Talk to you guys next week.

Falou (that's a way of saying "peace out" or "keep it real" kind of, but the translation is "you spoke" I don't really get it, but the rapazes think I'm cool when I say it)

I deemed these chairs yetti chairs.

Here's some cool rural stuff. I also think I'm gaining a little weight here.

Here's a cute picture of me drinking chimarrão. Google it.

People in Brasil don't buy just one cell phone.

-Elder Candland

Friday, July 13, 2012

Week 46

So yesterday I didn't get to send an email because our lanhouse was shut for some Brazilian holiday.

So, I got transferred. Finally. I was upset to leave the area after so long when the last few weeks we were so awful. I didn't want to leave like that. But when I was, I found gratitude as soon as I got here. The house is way nice since the houses are cheaper out here. Oh ya, I'm in a different city now. Sorocaba. It's a little to the west of Sao Paulo. I don't know why, but I feel like I'm in Idaho sometimes. It's definitely more rural. It's less busy. The people are more friendly. The atmosphere is just better. I also feel more like I'm in Brasil. Anyway, we have solid investigators here. We manage to teach people now. When we make contacts, the people usually are home when we pass by later. My new companion is from Battleground, WA. Elder Dial. He's pretty cool. Kind of goofy; his Portuguese is funny. He'll say stuff like "hello family" when we pass by a family on the street. He's a good worker though, so I'm really excited to have half of the responsibility taken off my shoulders.

I suppose that's the biggest news I have for this week. I had my birthday on Sunday. It was a normal day. I actually forgot it was my birthday a few times. I remembered while I was in the shower, then forgot until after church. After that I forgot again until that night when someone asked what day it was. It was fine though. I realized that the new area was probably the best birthday present I could have got. Also, we had a good day of work on Sunday.

I'm pretty jealous of the family trip. All of it sounds like it was pretty fun. I'm still in Brasil though; it's better I think. Although, the challenge course sounds pretty fun though. I love that kind of stuff.

There weren't any real good stories from this week. I wish I had a little more to say. Ah, I guess before I left my last area, I passed by a few members that I really liked to say goodbye, especially the people I baptized, but one of the members knew it was my birthday Sunday, and she gave me a present. It was one of her CDs; a legit Brasil album. It's not church music. I'm gonna have to save it for after the mission.

I've got a couple of good photos I'll send off too. Just like normal.

Alright. Talk to you guys next week. Oh ya, next week we have Elder Claudio M. Costa coming here from the 70 Presidency.

Zone picture in Pirituba before I left.

Here´s the front of our house.

Front room.

It goes way back.

A spacious kitchen... for me to cook on... in.

The best quality of the house. The back porch/balcony.

It´s got a pretty sweet view.

I like to watch the sunlight hit the hills and buildings while I drink a hot cup of barley... ? It sounds more normal in Português.

Here´s Elder Dial and me. Hardcore.

-Elder Candland

Week 45

It´s July, and it feels just like a normal July in Washington. Fairly hot, but I´m in black shoes, slacks, and a tie walking in the sun, and burning from the heat of the concrete. It´s supposed to be cold right now. I´m not very happy with the weather. I was promised winter, but all I´m getting is a mild summer.

Well, this week was just as rough as the last. Elder Arichichu seems to be getting discouraged. Being right out of the MTC, I´m sure he wants to be seeing people accept the Gospel. During Friday morning´s study he pretty much gave up studying and said he was tired and needed a break, so he went outside and paced back and forth for about 30 minutes. When he came in I asked him what was up, and he said he was just tired so I threw him the ``No. It´s not just that.´´ He expressed that he was feeling depressed about the work. I don´t know what happened, but it just got really difficult. The most difficult I´ve ever seen. We´re managing about 4 lessons per week. No one will commit to a specific time for us to pass by, and if they do, they usually bail out, so what we have been doing this week is trying to pass by as many of our investigators as possible so maybe catch them, while also trying to find, but very, very few people we have run into actually have the slightest interest in more appointments and responsiblities. They just don´t see what else they´d get through all of that.

We have transfers on Wednesday. I´m terrified to leave the area. I can´t leave, after being here for 8 months, when the work just took a divebomb to the worst I´ve ever seen. I´ve also put so much effort into this area, and I don´t feel comfortable leaving it in the hands of my companion just yet. Not after only his first transfer in the field. Not to mention my birthday on Sunday. That only makes it worse. If I leave just before my birthday, no one in the new ward will know it´s my birthday or even really think anything of it. The picture from dad was kind of funny the first time I read it, but after thinking about it a few seconds, it got funnier and funnier. 

We ran into this one guy on the street a few days ago. He was excited to talk to an American so he could try some English. Something he seemed to like was his own personal joke. There´s this saying here ``É forte.´´ ``It´s strong´´ basically. But his translation was ``Is a very stronger´´ and he kept repeating it. Thank goodness it was intended to be funny, because I thought it was pretty funny. He just thought I was laughing for other reasons.

Not much new from Elder Arichichu. He still has a hard time waking up. When he is finally up and awake, he doesn´t really stop talking about soccer, how his dog eats lizards in one bite, more soccer, the Simpsons, even more soccer, and who knows about the other 70% of what he´s saying. I have a really hard time listening after 5 minutes. He talks so fast and his accent is really difficult to understand. I usually end up understanding more than the Brasilians too.

The other day, we were at a member´s house and he was showing me all his movies. I saw one and was like ``I saw lots of advertisement for this one on the street, but never got what it was about,´´ so he said ``Let´s watch some then.´´ I said ``No, that´s okay,´´ but he threw it in anyway. We were waiting for his wife to get home so we could talk with her, so we were stuck there. I grabbed the Liahona and tried to ignore the tv, but that lasted about 2 minutes. Thankfully his wife came home after about 3 more minutes and we were able to talk with them and leave. Just before we left, the asked if we wanted to stay and watch more, but I said no. When we were outside, Elder Arichichu seemed a little frustrated and told me I don´t have to be so rigid. I felt so guilty for just 5 minutes. It´s just a movie, but we were in a members home. They know it´s against the rules and they know we know it´s against the rules. Not to mention it´s just a waste of time when we need to be working. I´m worried about Elder Arichichu when he gets his next companion. I´m not super strict, but there are definitely fubecas (Brasil slang for disobedient slackers) out there.

Well that´s all. I have just a few photos this week. I´ll get those sent now too. Have fun in Utah. Maybe eat a cake for me. I don´t know if I´ll be seeing anything if I´m transferred.

Here´s a big bug I found.

With a little perspective.

Transfers... they´re soon.

Elder Arichichu just never seems to wake up.

This is what he does for about a good 10 minutes after he´s finally awake.

-Elder Candland