Monday, September 30, 2013

sei que nada sou

Oi Familia!
Tudo Bem?!

It´s been a pretty great week.  We are finally starting to see some results from a long transfer full of hard work.  Kind of exciting.

Yesterday we got 3 people to church.  Carol (Daughter of Loreval who is Raimundo´s brother), Beatris (Niece of Raimundo), e Katiele (Daughter of Raimundo).  They all really liked it and want to come back for conference next week.  We stopped by Carol´s after Church yesterday and she commited to be baptized next week!  She didn´t promise, but she said she loved church, loved the youth, and with a good solid week of teaching I think she´ll be ready.  We want to commit Beatris tambem but didn´t really get the chance to talk to her yesterday.  The other good news is that Raimundo and Josali are really starting to progress.  The other day we watched Os Testamentos with them, and after had a really good discussion with Josali.  She told us about a dream she had, where someone was talking to her and she felt a ton of peace and joy, but she couldn´t remember the words.  We then opened up to 3 Néfi 11 and when we read verse 7 Eis aqui meu aFilho Amado, bem quem me comprazo e em quem glorifiquei meu nome—ouvi-o.  She stopped and told us ´That´s what he told me, that what I heard in my dream.`  Quite a miracle.  Anyways, her and Raimundo agreed to get married so we´re going to stop by the cartorio later this week to set up an appointment with the Judge.  So exciting!

So I finally got around to making cookies last week.  So good and so yummy.  All the roommates want to learn how to impress their girlfriends when they get back.  Also whipped up some pancakes yesterday for dinner.  Delicious.  Just lacked syrup, something I´ll have to live without in my time in Brazil.  Oh well.

So the other week we lost the hot water in the shower.  No big deal, it´s been so hot that cold shower´s feel good anyway.  But when the Assistent´s came to inspect the house they took it upon themselves to fix it, and in the process, completely destroyed the shower, tearing it out of the wall.  Never trust a missionary with home improvement.  Anyways, we had been taking pitcher showers for the last week until a kind member came and fixed everything up for us.  Hot water is back.  Which is good because it´s actually gotten kind of cold this week, at least during the nights.  Some afternoon´s get way hot, and then the nights get way cold.  Kind of bipolar.

So one last funny story.  I was showing Beatris and Katiele some photos of the family, and when she saw a photo of Dad, Beatris told me ´Ele aparece como Justin Bieber´  or `He looks like Justin Bieber`.  I got a kick out of that.  It was kind of picture from a distance, but still funny.

Well all in all it´s been a great week.  Transfers are next week so not sure what will happen.  I hope I stay with Elder Carmongio, but he´s been in the area a while and thinks he´ll be transferred, so we´ll see what happens.  Let you know next week.

I´ll close it out with a scripture i really liked from Alma 26:12.

Sim, sei que nada sou; quanto a minha força, sou débil; portanto não me avangloriarei de mim mesmo, mas gloriar-me-ei em meu Deus, porque com sua força posso fazer todas as coisas; sim, eis que fizemos muitos milagres nesta terra, pelo que louvaremos o seu nome para sempre.

Truly this is the work of the Lord, and it´s amazing what he can do with a bunch of 18-22 year old kids.  So with the force of the Lord is the work of Salvation possible.

Eu Amo Vocês 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Quente! Quente! Quente! Tenho saudade de invierno e neve.

Oi familia!
Como vocês estão?

The heat is slowly killing me down here in Brazil.  So I´ve kind of been sick with gripe (brazilian version of the flu/cold) this last week, but no big deal.  I´ve worked through colds several times in my short lifetime.  Life was going good, we were working hard, teaching lots, and having a really productive week, and then Saturday it hit me really bad.  The sun was killer, I was exhausted from a long week of hard work, and my body decided to overheat.  Seriously probably the worst fever I´ve ever had.  But we stopped at a members house, took some medicine for fever, rested a bit, and then he took us home so I could recover a bit.  Took a cold shower, started to feel better, but by the end of the night the fever started to spike again.  My overconcerned companion and roommates freaked out, called Sister Perrotti and who made me go to the hospital (brazilian hospitals are pretty much like american doctor offices) at 10:30pm just to have the doctor tell me I had gripe.  Lost two hours of sleep for nothing.  Oh well.  I´m feeling a lot better today.  I was still kind of exhausted yesterday so we took things easy, but I´m drinking a lot of water and should be in tip top shape in no time.

So we have a huge teaching group right now.  Lots of awesome people, but not a lot of progress. Our biggest problem is getting people to Church.  The Church is next to a bunch of apartment buildings, so it´s kind of hard to work near the church, so the area where we are working is way far away from the chapel, so we have to find rides for everyone.  To top that off, almost everyone here works on Sunday.  It´s tough, especially to see people who are interested but aren´t willing to make the sacrifice to change.  We´ll probably start cycling through some people this week.

Bright spot of the week is we found an awesome couple, Felipe e Fernanda.  Felipe was really good friends with a patriarch in another stake before he moved here, and has already been taught everything and is really interested in the church.  His wife is a little overwhelmed right now cause he´s already talking about the 12 tribes of israel and temples, and all sorts of stuff that is completely over her head, so we´ll have to keep things simple and plain so she can see the joy of the gospel.  I´m really excited for them and have a FHE planned at a members house hoje a noite.  Should be great.  Hopefully we´ll mark a baptismal date with them.

We´re still visiting Raimundo e Josali, but things are tough with them.  He doesn´t really want to get married, she works almost every Sunday, and he is drunk most of the weekends, so this week we want to set some goals with them to get them progressing, and if they aren´t interested, we´ll sadly have to let them go for a while.

Should be a great week though!  I´ll end it off by inviting you all to read Alma 15:5-12, which talks about how Zeezrom was healed from his guilt and his sin through his faith in Jesus Christ.  To me it shows how powerful true faith really is.  It has the power to change our hearts, heal our sorrows, and cure our guilt, but only if we let him. 

Hope you all have a great week!

Eu amo vocês.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Translation (yesterday's letter)

I can destroy my life with the same thumb that I can read all the scriptures, conference addresses, etc.

                                                         Elder Claudio Costa Stake Conference Campinas Brazil

Monday, September 16, 2013

Já fiz 6 mezes da missão. O loco!!!

Oi familia!  Tudo bem!

I can´t believe that 6 months have already gone by since you all dropped me off at the MTC.  Time is flying by!

It might be kind of a short letter today, not because I don´t have time, but more because not much happened this week.  We didn´t work as much as we would have liked due to me getting sick for a day on Tuesday, and then Elder Carmongio got sick yesterday, but all is good now so no need to worry.

It´s starting to get blazing hot down here.  The afternoons are absolutely miserable.  Within 30 minutes I´ve soaked my shirt through with sweat, have a parched throat, and am ready to go back home to a Utah winter.  But all is well.  The nights are really nice, so I just do my best to slug it through the afternoon until 5 or 6 when the sun starts to set.

Sadly, Lela ended up moving to Belem (another state here in Brazil).  She was so ready to get baptized.  I only hope she finds the Church there.  Other than her we found a lot of young couples this week to teach.  Most of them are unmarried but have been living together for 5 or 6 years, so we´re hoping at least one of them will turn out and accept the gospel, get married, get baptized, and then go to the temple a year from now.  Should be good!

Yesterday was Stake Conference, and Elder Claudio Costa of the seventy, who is also president of the Brazil area in the church came and spoke.  He spoke a lot about the dangers of media and had a quote that I really like. Eu posso destruir minha vida com o mesmo dedão que eu posso ler todas as escrituras, discursos de conferencia, etc.  So true.  Technology really can be a blessing or a curse.

Well that´s kind of the week in review.  I´ll end it off with a scripture I enjoyed this week in Mosias (Mosiah) 23:21-22.

Não obstante, o Senhor julga conveniente castigar seu povo; sim, ele prova sua paciência e sua fé. Entretanto, quem nele confia será elevado no último dia. E assim foi com este povo.

Sometimes we don´t know why the Lord gives us trials, or why we have to go through some difficult times, but like the people of Alma, sometimes even the righteous have to pass through tribulation to prove our faith to the Lord.  But the Lord promises to lift us up to eternal life in the last days, so remember to take everything with an eternal perspective.

Love you all and hope you have a great week!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Last Day in Indy with Elder Paxman and Elder Cozzens.

First Day in Brazil with Elder Miranda e Elder Bonfanti.  I spent one day with them in Progresso before being moved to Vida Nova.

California Pizza with Elder Barbosa. We probably ordered this pizza three times a week while we were together. The pizzeria ordered the ingredients just for us. Kind of a hawaiin pizza but a million times better. Not sure why. Maybe the fresh pineapple, or maybe the chocolate inside the crust.  Delicious.

Friends in Vida Nova.  Christina was one of the first people I met in Brazil and one of the last people I talked to in Vida Nova.  She has a billion kids, and loves saying Good Morning in English.

Speaking with the Birds!

A Brazilian Horizon

Standard Brazilian lunch.  Beans, rice, and meat.  You can get a plate like this for about R$10 in pretty much any restauraunt.  That adds up to about 5 bucks!  Can´t beat that for a deal!

Brazil Campinas Temple at night

Resting in the Rede (hammock for you Americans). Kind of cool they have hooks built into the house!

Closer and Closer to Baptism

Oi Familia!                                                                                 Monday September 9, 2013
Come vocês estão?

I´m doing great here in Brazil.  We found a lot of people to teach this week, now we just need to teach them and baptize them.  I´m looking forward to a great week and only hope the Lord will bless our efforts.

The highlight of the week was definitely taking a couple families to see the temple here in Campinas.  We took Raimundo e Josali e sua familia, and surprisingly they invited a friend, Lela, and her daughter to come along too.  All of them felt the Spirit a ton and told us they had never felt anything like it before.  It was especially a big step for Raimundo.  He has never liked going to Church or anything like it, and Josali told us it was a huge that he came, so that´s a great sign.  However, it´s going to be a process with them. They aren´t legally married yet, and have some problems with the Word of Wisdom.  This week we are hoping to teach the O Plano de Salvação e talk about eternal families, so hopefully that should get them excited.

Lela has been a huge highlight as well.  She is totally ready to be baptized, but the problem is, she´s moving to another city tomorrow.  Things are still kind of up in the air, so there is a chance she will stay.  If not we gave her the address of the Church where she is going and will talk to the missionaries there as well.

It was kind of a downer when we talked to Vandersson again.  He didn´t read the Book of Mormon, didn´t pray, and didn´t want to come to Church with us.  He is a great guy and really spiritual and sincere, but maybe a little to converted to his other church.  He expressed a desire to read the Book of Mormon, so we´ll give him another shot this week.

I´m learning to love Brazil a lot more this transfer.  I´ve gotten to know the neighborhood a lot better, and a lot of the kids love talking to the American who is learning portuguese.  Yesterday I had a couple dozen swarm after me all with a gazilian questions like ´Do you know Justin Bieber` or ´How do you say moon in English`,  and a thousand others.  I´m loving getting to know the people here better.

It´s amazing to see how far my Portuguese has progressed.  It´s still a struggle but definitely better.  Some days I feel practically fluent, and others I feel like I just got to the MTC, but I´ve definitely seen progression.

And one last thing that I almost forgot.  The box you sent got to me last Tuesday!  Pretty quick huh?  Thanks so much.  Especially for the English hymns.  The hymns have really become a comfort to me here on the mission.  When I feel down and out I love singing about Christ.  It really is a lift to the soul.  I´m memorizing some hymns in Portuguese as well.  So far I have the first verse of How Great Thou Art, Called to Serve, and How Firm a Foundation.  Love it.  The food was delicious as well, especially the Reeses, but it disappeared kind of fast in a house of four hungry missionaries.  Those word puzzles have been kind of fun as well.

And one last spiritual thought to close things out.  Just want to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon.  There really isn´t any other book out there as powerful.  I´m in Mosias (Mosiah for you Englsh readers) and am just devouring the words of King Benjamin, Abinadi, e outros tambem.  They all have such powerful testimonies of Christ.   I really love the last testimony of the prophet Nephi in 2 Néfi 33:10-15 but will only quote part here for you.

E agora, meus amados irmãos, e também judeus e todos vós, confins da Terra, dai ouvidos a estas palavras e aacreditai em Cristo; e se não acreditardes nestas palavras, acreditai em Cristo. E se acreditardes em Cristo, acreditareis nestas bpalavras, porque são as cpalavras de Cristo e ele deu-as a mim; e elas densinam a todos os homens que devem fazer o bem.

Eu amo vocês!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Oi from Iguatemi

Oi familia!
Tudo bem?!

It has been an amazing week for me.  New companion, new area, but this time around I´m still speaking the same language which is nice.  

My new area is Iguatemi.  It´s close to the temple here in Campinas, kind of in the hills above the city.  So far I love it.  It´s kind of the richer part of Campinas so everything is completely different.  No favelas, big houses, etc.  Kind of weird sometimes.  I had gotten used to the tiny houses and humble people of Vida Nova.  However, I love it here.  My new companion, Elder Carmongio is great.  He´s from Brasil, but lived for a while in Boston.  He actually was baptized in Boston when he was 18, moved back to Brazil, found a girlfriend, and then decided to serve a mission.  He´s the oldest missionary in the mission, 26 years old, but we get along great.  He´s a hard worker but relaxed, and I honestly just love being around him.  

With Elder Barbosa I was always stressed out because he had kind of given up on the area, but with Elder Carmongio, I know every day will be good.  I still come home exhausted, probably because everything here is a lot farther away from the house so we walk a lot more, and everything is hilly so we are constantly climbing up and down.  But all in all we are honestly following the spirit in all we do.  Instead of rushing to teaching appointments we take our time and look at every person in the streets, and if it feels right, we talk to them.  If we see a house we want to knock or feel like we should knock, we knock it.  Gone are the days of picking a bairro and knocking it till its dead.

We found a sweet couple last night.  Vanderson e Patricia.  Vanderson is so ready for the gospel.  We taught him the restoration, and he was finishing our sentences half the time without ever having heard it before.  Patricia was kind of quiet, but I´ve never felt the Spirit so strong before.  We´re praying he gets off work early enough tonight so the family can come to a family home evening with Eddy e Andrea.

One thing you all might find interesting cause it seems like you asked me before is that there are a lot more Japanese people here.  It´s kind of interesting to see the difference the from one side of the city to the other.  One of my favorite parts of the area is we can see the temple all lit up at night.  It´s kind of far away, but still beautiful, and gives me an extra boost to keep working.  Another nice thing is we actually have a nice church building.  It is super super nice, nicer then a lot in the usa, or maybe I had just gotten used to our not so nice building in Vida Nova,  who knows?

But anyways I´m loving the area, I love my companion, and I´m loving Brasil.  We live with another set of missionaries, Elder Souza from Paraguay and Elder Warlen from Brasil, so I get a lot of Portuguese practice and its coming along really quickly.  

Well I love you all and hope school and life and everything else is going good.  I´ll get around to taking and sending pictures one of these days.

Eu Amo Vocês