Monday, May 27, 2013

Ipe Semana 10

I don´t know how Calli is part of our family... When dad told me that my irmãzinha at 10 years old has decided to read the Book of Mormon in 30 days I didn´t know exactly how to respond... I don´t know where this little girl came from, because she doesn´t seem to fit in with the rest of the family. All of us brothers would take the challenge to read the entire Harry Potter series in a week, or Work and the Glory in a month... but the scriptures were always something that we read as a family, and for seminary. My little sister is one of the best examples I have in life.

When I received an email from Nathan who has been one of my best friends since grade-school I almost started crying. I remember distinctly the day I was sitting on the bus, and the new kid from the ward got on my bus! Zing. Insta-friendship. In this past week he baptized his girlfriend Kassandra, received the Melchizedek priesthood, confirmed her a member in the sacrament meeting following, and will be married this coming Saturday. Congratulations to Nate and Kassandra! Unfortunately I won´t be there for the marriage this week, or the sealing in the temple in one year, but I am very excited for them!

In the PEC this week, everyone talked about what happened the past Sunday with the gossip and such that had been harming the progress of a few families we are teaching, and everyone in that council is devoted to help them. I have never sat in a leadership meeting where the Spirit was present with such a force that we received direct and clear revelation as to what needs to be done to help several people we are teaching. The area is doing well, but we are still fighting with tobacco addiction for several people. We will be spending `bastante` time in one part of our area this week helping those people progress. We will also offer priesthood blessings to those who need them. Our lessons with members were very weak as our splits fell through and when we did have a brother from the ward, our investigators were not at home... But as we were watching the District 1 as part of the 12 week program we realized that this really is the part missing from the recipe to make the ward blossom and that this week we need to teach investigators in the homes of members.

We are doing great as a companionship and working hard. But this week we felt like we were running fast but going nowhere. So we analyzed what is missing and will teach more with members.

This week we got the lamest excuse EVER for not being able to go to church... We called before passing by to walk with him to church and he said that he needed to `comprar frutas`... He was going to miss out on learning eternal truths that will help him progress to gain eternal salvation to `buy fruits` I was rather puzzled as to how I could respond to such an wimpy excuse. Maybe we´ll have to teach a little lesson on honesty :)
I´m still working on the `Thou Shalt Not Gossip` paper, but next week I´ll have it ready.
I love being a missionary. It is the hardest, most rewarding work that exists. The Book of Mormon is true. I know it because I asked God and he responded through the power of the Holy Ghost. I recommend the book to anyone who wants to build their faith in Christ, or who wants answers to the great questions of the soul.


Elder House

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ipe Semana 9

This week was a little tough, but we made it through. We are finishing construction on a house of an investigator, but we hit some complications there... Gossip is possibly the worst enemy to the progression of our investigators. This coming week I will study and write out the scriptural evidence for why `thou shalt not gossip` ought to be the 11th comandment.
But challenges and all, things are going well. I will have to take a picture with Vilson and Valdete who are pretty much the best people in the world to teach. They were going to all the churches on the face of the planet until they found the Church of Jesus Christ, and even though their family and neighbors are giving them a little bit of a hard time with the transition to living a gospel centered life, they are progressing by leaps and bounds. This week, we will have all of the documentation we need to marry them in the coming month, and the baptism will follow shortly.
This week I bought a little music box and we have been enjoying what little Mo-Tab we could download from the church site, and a few talks. But it is nice to have music in the house again.
This map shows the boundary of the ward we are assigned to teach in, and as ya´ll can see, it is pretty big. But a big area is a blessing because you have lots of families to teach (19 in our case). This is the best area in the world.


Elder House

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ipe Semana 8

Well I was shocked that Calli has grown about a foot since I left home, and her voice has changed dramatically in only a few months. She is turning into a young woman already! And it was great to see that the rest of the family is doing well. Mom has an orchard going, Christian is going to Prom, Carstensurvived the AP Biology test, and Dad is still puttin pizzas on the BBQ. It was a treat to talk with y´all yesterday via Skype for mother´s day.

This week we worked well, but we still have `bastante` room for improvement. We need to use the members even more effectively, because our goal for 15 lessons with members is very realistic. Unfortunately this week, many of the people we were expecting at church did not come, even though we passed by early with members and left church to search out others. But the Lord blessed us with a wonderful family who showed up out of the blue with a member. We have yet to teach them in their home, but we will mark a baptismal date, and jump on getting their documents sent from Rio Grande do Sul

Today we received authorization to go to Pinhais to get the documents for another marriage, but our ride fell through. We were waiting for him at the appointed hour, and we called but he never showed up... So we took that as a sign that we should spend the day cleaning the house from top to bottom. We still have the kitchen to tackle next week, but the house has only a faint semblance of the house I arrived in. We will arrange another ride to Pinhaisfor the next Preparation Day, and look for a more reliable member :)

Our relationship as companions is continuing to grow and improve as we spend more time teaching together. As I look for small ways to serve Elder V. Silva, it helps things running smoothly. We need to improve our exercising in the morning, and in the past week we set a goal to leave the apartment three times in the week to exercise, but with that cold wave we received (and owing to my companion being from a place where 18 C is as cold as it ever gets) we chickened out... But this week we will do better. We are also working on using the Book of Mormon more effectively in ALL the aspects of the Missionary Work.

This week we received a referral to a man who sells salami on the side of the road, who, by all appearances is at least half crazy. But a young man in the ward had been talking with him and he was interested in the story of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. So we went to talk with him and we presented the Book of Mormon. I have NEVER had someone who understood what the Book of Mormon is (an ancient record of God´s dealings with the people who inhabited the American Continent over 2000 years ago), how it is a test of Joseph Smith´s call as a prophet (if the book is true, then Joseph Smith is a prophet), and a sign of the Restoration (God needed to reteach some of the doctrines that got lost in the 1600ish years of apostasy that resulted from the people´s rejection of the Apostles after the Resurrection of Christ)... as well as this man did. He lives out of our area, but he is always selling with his family under a little tent, so we will start to teach them this week. I think Elder Silva will probably quote me for saying `hey, we don´t judge people (leave that to the District Leader and Bishop)... we just teach!`

I love being a missionary, and I know that the Lord is blessing us as we participate in His work.

-Elder House

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ipe Semana 7

Training is great! This week I received my new companion, Elder V. Silva (they put the V in front to not get him confused the other 12 Silvas in the mission) from Paraíba which is a state in northeast corner of Brasíl... a very hot and sunny corner I might add :) He passed 12 days in the CTM, and other than that, he has 6 days in the field. Fresher missionaries are hard to find. But he is great to have as a companion. His father served in Curitiba many years ago, so he heard all about the missionary work here. He was a little worried about how the people would accept the gospel, because everyone says that the people of Paraná are as cold as the climate, but after one week on the street, he loves the people here. Jardim Ipê is a great area to start off his mission.

This past week, we got off to a very slow start with monday and tuesday spent out of the area, but we hustled the rest of the week to make up our lost time. We worked very diligently to achieve all that we could, but still came up short in a few of the goals we had set. This week, an inactive family came to church with us (third time for the mother Rosi, second for a son Andruw, and first time for the husband Paulo) but they were missing their 12 year old son, Tiago, who is set to be baptized in the coming weeks. However, Paulo did not make it too long... after priesthood, the bishop sent him off to the Gospel Principles class (calling it the `aula de membros novos`) but Paulo chose to be offended by this and see it as an insult to his testimony and, rather than just explain that he was a member for several years already, he ran home. Rosi was embarrassed by her husband, but the bishop spent some time talking with her apologizing. Hopefully we can talk with Paulo and help him build up the courage to return again, but it will require a lot of patience if he is going to be so easily offended. 

Also this week, Bruno almost missed church because he was feeling sick. But I was determined that no sickness was going to get in the way of his confirmation, so we ran to his house with a member to get him and give a ride. It all went well, and in the confirmation blessing, the bishop also blessed him to recover from his illness. When we visited him later on, he was back to full health.

I really like Elder V. Silva and the way he works. I was a bit nervous to receive a new missionary to train, but I was very blessed in the companion I was selected to train. This week, I tried to serve more than I had in the past, making breakfast each morning and preparing things in the house for the day of work. It really made a difference in our relationship, and helped this transfer get off to a great start.

This weekend we were teaching a very spiritual lesson to a man named Darlan as we were seated at a bus stop at night, but out of the shadows came a man who, despite being very drunken, was speaking very quickly and did not understand the idea of personal space. Instantly the Spirit left us as this man began talking and talking, and spiting just a little on my face. We apologized to Darlan, and left, but the drunken man followed us. We tried EVERYTHING to ditch him but nothing worked. We walked quickly. We ran. We walked down a dark alleyway a little ways and ran in the other direction, but he stuck with us step for step. Until, I said a quick prayer asking that we could be freed from this burden to do something productive in the work, and almost the very second I finished, the man stopped, turned, and walked in the other direction. Why we didn´t pray for help sooner, I have no idea. But it was certainly a journal worthy experience :)

Another rather humorous moment was almoço a few days ago. My companion doesn´t like fish which I had discovered the day before, but as missionaries, when people invite you to eat, you just eat, and there is no room to be picky at all. So when the family put almoço on the table and revealed an enormous platter of fried fish with skin, head, and all, I looked quickly at Elder V. Silva to see his reaction. There was a moment of fear but he quickly recovered... But not quick enough to evade the notice of the family! Everybody laughed, and they didn´t make him eat fish. I rather enjoyed the meal myself, and ate his portion of the fresh tilapia.

This coming week the forecast is set to get cold... As in 5 degrees Celsius, but with humidity it will feel much colder than that. I hope that my heat loving companion doesn´t freeze! (He´s never felt cold in his life because in his part of the country it NEVER gets cold).


Elder House