Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28

This week was really weak for us. We have few investigators to teach, and the most efficient way of finding new people here in São Paulo is to talk with everyone on the street. I´ve been struggling with this my entire mission, it hasn´t gotten easier. This week rained a lot, so there were already very few people on the streets, so we didn´t find hardly any new investigators this week. On top of that, most of our appointments we had marked fell through.

We are, however, teaching one of our stake president´s cousins. She´s a single mom with a son. She also smokes, but she´s progressing rapidly. She can´t read very well, so she has her son read to her from the Book of Mormon several times a week. She has given us several references already, sharing with her friends her testimony that lots of good things have happened to her since started listening to our message. When we started teaching her, she had been informed that she had 20 days to find a new house. We taught her to pray, and she ended up getting another house near her job within a week. Tuesday, we got a ride with the stake president to the mission conference (read below). We mentioned that we were teaching one of his relatives, and he told us to call him the next time we marked another appointment with her. On Friday, we called, and he and his mother came with us to teach her. It was a fantastic lesson. The stake president´s mom shared her testimony of her conversion, how she stopped smoking, and the blessings she´s received since then.

As for the mission conference, we were surprised upon arriving; even President Martins was uninformed. The mission São Paulo Interlagos was also there. Elder Caetano´s best friend just so happens to be serving there, and the mission president also happens to be one of his close family friends. Anyway, the conference was awesome. We had Elder Christensen and Elder Mazzagardi as well as their wives. Elder Christensen asked both mission presidents and their wives to bear their testimonies quickly, then he spoke to us. He mentioned the new mission age, and talked about the number of missionaries we´re going to have in the next 6 months. I don´t remember what the numbers were, but it looks like the number of missionaries in the world is going to triple here soon. I think there may be a lot less youth worried about leaving a girl/boyfriend at the younger age, especially the young women. Anyway, I found myself wishing I could be a part of this new age of missionaries.

Ricardo took us out to eat for lunch on Friday. He brought his fiancee too. It was a really cool place called Nordestino (meaning northeasterner). He´s from the northeast where the food is really different. It has a lot more spices, and lots of different recipes. We ate Sarapatel, mocotófava, carne de sol with mandioca, and some other appetizers. I´ve got my own pictures I´ll send. It was really good.  

The first photo is a plate with the sarapatel, mocotó, fava, and some normal beans. 

Next is the carne de sol with mandioca (translating to sun meat with mandrake). It was incredible... anyway, the part I liked the most wast he head of garlic on the side. They pour some olive oil on top of a head of garlic, throw some oregano on, and cook it in the oven. Then, while you´re eating the meat, you grab a garlic tooth, and smash the garlic out of it´s peel, and spread it on top of the meat. The garlic turns into a garlic hummus, and it doesn´t leave you with an overpowering garlic breath. 

To start off everything we had what they call pastels. I think it´s like a pastry. Pastry to me seems like something less fried and more sweet. These pastels were full of dried meat and cheese.

That mission ward mission plan looks pretty cool. Creativity like that isn't really part of the church culture here; only in relief society sometimes. I miss the creativity of our ward. We don´t see much here. Almost every ward activity is a barbacue.

Ya, the big news here these days is the club down in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul. It´s pretty crazy because of the guards who locked the doors thinking that it was just a fight or something. I don´t believe it. How do you not realize there´s a fire, especially when everyone is probably screaming FIRE. 

This is Yasmin. She likes to play cops and robbers when we pass by. Usually the game just involves her and me sitting in two chairs pretending to patrol our beat. Then she starts to scream "Get out of the car, get out of the car!" grabs our umbrellas, and uses them to shoot whoever is in the room at the moment. Then, if they don't die on the spot, she grabs them by the hands and says "Your'e coming with me to the delegacy!" Her aunt is a police officer.

Anyway, that´s it for now. 

-Elder Candland 

January 21

Tomorrow marks 4 months until I come home, but now that it´s closer, I did a little math and I´m not sure what the deal is. I think maybe 2 of the next transfers are only 5 weeks. If transfers are next Wednesday, that means 16 weeks later, I come home. 17 weeks would make for 1 transfer of 5 weeks. There´s a week missing. That means I have less time than I thought. I haven´t decided if that ´s good or bad.

Well, this week wasn´t too bad. We found several new people, but our work was impaired because Elder Caetano fell and hurt his back. He´d already had some back problems after arriving to the mission, so we had to go to the hospital and get it checked out. He´s using a nice corset thing like I had, but a lot simpler. He can still work, but after a few hours on his feet, his back starts to hurt, so we have to head back home for about another hour or two for him to lay down and rest.

Aside from that, we´re teaching a new lady now. She´s the stake president´s cousin, and she´s showing a lot of desire to come to church and be baptized. She smokes, but she really wants to quit. She also doesn't like reading in front of people, so she didn't like coming to church because she thought it was a requirement to read aloud.

She didn't come to church this week because it was stake conference. It was an awesome stake conference. We had President Martins and his wife speak, the temple president and his wife spoke, and one a seventy who served in this stake came to speak as well. Elder Caetano and I were blown away with how many people didn´t pay attention with such a special line-up. Anway, President Martins gave a great talk on missionary work that followed up our talks last week. Basically he said the following: We see all of these other churches growing so fast, but they don´t have the authority of the Priesthood of God. Just as Hebrews 5:4-5 says, you can´t just wake up one day and have God´s authority because you think or you feel like you do; just as somebody can read and study all they want about the law, but, without being certified by the government, cannot be a lawyer. I think we can be a little more bold in sharing the gospel with others. We often say ``Excuse me, sorry, I just wanted to maybe share my testimony with you if that´s alright...´´ We see these other churches acting as though they have the priesthood, and yet, we, who actually hold it, sometimes act as if we don´t. 

I liked the ward mission plan. I think it would be a good idea for the ward here too. A lot of members don´t seem to know what they can do to help. Many seem to think that we missionaries are the only ones who do the work, and that the members are to be used as a resource. That´s completely wrong. We´re sent to each ward to be a tool in the hands of the members to help teach their friends and help he ward grow. I think President´s talk helped out a little too. 

Well, that´s it. I´m late. We got our hair cut today and it took a lot longer than we had planned. Oh ya, speaking of haircuts, we got all cleaned up because tomorrow we have a mission conference with Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy.

Anyway, until next week.
-Elder Candland 

January 14

This week wasn't too bad, but it was really discouraging. By Sunday night, about 80% of all of our appointments had fallen through during the week. We were able to find a few new investigators, but we lost a few at the same time. The worst of the week was that our best investigators who have received answers that the Book of Mormon is true, have been too busy for us to be able to pass by to teach and help. They don't understand yet, like we do, that the principles we are teaching to them are more important than anything else. Granted, if there's an emergency, we can always teach them another day, but their excuses for not receiving us haven't been big emergencies, just little things like reorganizing the house, needing to rest a little, etc. Olha, we just ask for 30 minutes of your time to help prepare you for eternity.

Yesterday's topic for sacrament meeting was about missionary work, and our ward missionary leader and we were called to speak. I spoke first, giving a talk on why missionary work is important using the plan of salvation, starting with our premortal life, explaining the fall and sin entering into the world, how our sins can be removed from us only through baptism (by the authority of God), and then about the restoration of this authority on the Earth today, which was given to Joseph Smith by John the Baptist in 1829. Then to help put it into perspective, I created a modern-day example. Basically, imagine that mom takes Shaini and Rylee to Seattle and drops them off at the zoo, leaves some money for them to catch a bus home, and then goes home, leaving the girls alone at the zoo to wander around for a few hours. Then, when they're done, Shaini leaves some money with Rylee, and catches a bus all by herself, leaving Rylee to try and figure out how to get back home alone. Then Shaini gets home and mom asks "Where's Rylee?"

We started running this week. Our house is right in front of the church, and the bishop is next door to ask for the keys to the basketball court outside. I just run suicides while he does his own thing. It works out well running in a small enclosed space because we can both take our own pace since he has bad knees and can't run very fast. I was dead after we started on Friday, but I felt like I'm burned some good calories, just in time for the bishop to invite us over to eat some homemade pizza.

If I could work at Nintendo using my Português, I might almost prefer working a little first so I don't have to take out so many student loans. We'll see what happens with these college applications in the next few months.

That's it for this week.
-Elder Candland

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

December 31

Well, our week wasn´t all that productive. We had a hard time finding people, so we grabbed a list of members and started passing by the members we didn´t know to see if they had anyone there to teach. We ended up finding one person. The member who had lived there moved, and we talked with the lady that lives there now.

Tonight we´ve got a lessons with a recent convert´s mom who seems pretty interested in the church. After that, we´ve been invited to several places for New Years Eve. The only bummer about new years is that we still have to be at home by 9:30. Hopefully someone manages to bring a friend to the ward activity. We´re desperately needing new investigators.

What a bummer that grandma decided to make everyone pijamas this year. I missed out. I won´t lie, I actually want some.

Christmas here was pretty good for us missionaries this year. I finally felt like some of the members were looking out for us. My first Christmas was absolutely lame aside from the fact that Elder Davis was my companion. Though Christmas was really good, I missed a lot of stuff that we do for Christmas. There was no Christmast music, no lights on houses, no cold, few sweets; basically no Christmas ``spirit.´´ Just a good excuse to gather the family and eat.

Anyway, that´s it for this week. We didn´t take any pictures on Christmas or Christmas Eve and i´m kind of bummed. I´ll try and get some tonight.

-Elder Candland

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7

Weird, I come home this year. Only one more generalconference and one  more call home. And the members don´t help. For somereason they like remind me that I have only a few months left every time we eatat their homes.

Anyway, this week was much better. We managed to findseveral new investigators, and we hope to have someone baptized in just a fewweeks. 

Ricardo got engaged with his girlfriend who introduced himto the church. They´re planning on waiting to get married in a year when theycan get sealed in the temple.

I finished reading Following Christ about 3 daysafter Christmas and The Great Apostasy about 5 days ago. It took mea little while to get used to the way James E. Talmage writes after readingsomething more modern and casual.

Cool comment from Stephanie. I´m glad to see another convertstay strong to what she believes.

That´s it for this week.  I´ll try and get back to college stuff.

-Elder Candland