Monday, July 22, 2013

Bonsucesso Semana 1

Welp... Transfers got interesting this week. Got a call yesterday afternoon. Elder House going to Bonsucesso in Guarapuava! woohoo!

wait a second...

isn´t that the area of the Zone Leaders...


`sim.` (which is to say `yes`)

I´ve now got some very large shoes to fill. Good thing the Lord qualifies those who he calls. I´m sure i´ll be spending plenty of extra time on my knees this transfer.

Alright, so I´m now in the very center of the state of Paraná in a city called Guarapuava. It was always my dream to serve in this city and be a Leader, and I even asked that the Lord, that one day I could serve here as a Zone Leader... but I was thinking that it would take a little longer. It is a very neat little city, and very cold. We have a chance of snow tonight! Imagine that, serving in Brasíl and getting snow.

This last week in Ipê was very exciting. The marriage of Vilson and Valdete went very smoothly, and I played Bach´s Prelude in C as they entered. I remember that my piano teacher gave me that piece to learn saying `one day you´ll be asked to play for a wedding, and you won´t know what to use as they enter, but if you play this nice and slow it´ll all go well...` so when we needed someone to play piano, I asked a kid in the ward to print me off a copy! This time I´ll save the sheet music.

I was honored that Valdete asked me to perform her baptism, and it was a very spiritual experience. The water was nice and warm and she and Vilson both cried a little when the ward welcomed them with open arms. I´m going to miss Ipê, and all the members there. It was hard at first to help them work as missionaries, but in these last few weeks we were teaching over 15 lessons per week with members. Miracles happen.

So now on to filling very large shoes left here in the interior.

With love,

Elder House

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ipe Semana 17

Anyone who has participated in missionary work knows that working with the members is key. When you have members who help people feel welcome at church, who visit the people you are teaching, who have Volkswagen mini-buses (here we call them `Combies`) to take loads of people to church, and who break into your house at night to give you homemade pizza... you know that you are in a good ward. This week we had a hard time coordinating visits with members... so if they couldn´t go with us when we were visiting people, the members just went and visited them another time. This was a miracle. And as a result we had 15 people at church yesterday to visit. If you want the missionaries to get all giddy inside... ask them who you can go visit and take a plate of cookies to invite them to church... or who needs to be invited over for barbecue. But be ready with smelling salt, cause they just might keel over and pass-out.

This coming week we will have the wedding and baptism of Vilson and Valdete. Lots of photos to come. We are also helping some other people who are prepared but scared to enter the waters of baptism. With much prayer and fasting, I think we´ll help them make it. It is possible that this is my last week in Ipê... if not, then Elder V. Silva will leave, but I think he´ll stay and help more of these people he was sent to teach.

The sun returned for at least a few days. And everyone stopped complaining about the cold :)

This week will be one to remember and I am very grateful for the prayers on behalf of the missionaries.


Elder House

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ipe Semana 16

Although we didn´t have fireworks, our week went out with a bang.

President Fernandes arrived. And he is on fire. He is really going to help this new mission (Brasíl Curitiba South) start off on the right foot. He served as a missionary under President Costa back in the day... which is to say, less than 20 years ago. President Fernandes is only 40 years old, and has a nice little family of 5 children, ranging from 8 years of age to 16. We had the opportunity to meet them on Thursday which was very neat. He was born in Angola but moved to Portugal when he was a teenager because of the civil war there. Eventually he ended up in a little bitty town in the jungle of western Brasíl and served in Manaus. He met his wife in Portugal, and most recently they were living in São Paulo. He is not very tall, but he has plenty of spunk.

This week we were very grateful that we left our eyes open to be looking for the people who God prepared for us, and we found many of them. Reginaldo is an incredible man (with 6 fingers on his left hand) who is working his tail-end off to support his father´s enormous family that lives in the interior of Paraná. We found him as we were waiting for another family to get home from work, and started to teach him as he was washing his work clothes in a big tub. We ended up teaching him all about the Restoration of the Gospel, about the Book of Mormon, and about the importance of being baptized into the church of Christ by someone who has authority to do so. And we marked the baptismal date for the 20th of this month. Yesterday at church, he felt the Spirit very strong and is excited to be baptized.

Vilson and Valdete are doing great and ready for baptism also on the 20th. A sister in the ward is going to make a big cake for the marriage and baptism, so we are sure that we´ll have a good turn out!

This week was filled with teaching and finding new people, and we participated in a few miracles which are certainly journal worthy.

I love missionary work, and helping people take the challenge to read the Book of Mormon to know if the Church is true. And I know that every single person who wants to know, will know if they read, reflect, and ask in faith.


Elder House

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ipe Semana 15


Just finished my first email to President Fernandes... in Portuges! This will take a little bit of getting used to... and a lot of practice, but for now it is taking FOREVER to write in Portugues.

Until now, I haven´t met the new mission president or gotten a call or letter or email or something of the sort from him, but I am anticipating that in the coming week we´ll have that opportunity. I´m excited to hear an Angolan accent :)

This last week we had a special zone conference with the missionaries from 4 stakes together in the mission office and had our last meeting with President Cordon. It was a bittersweet meeting... Bitter on the one hand, because we lost a very special family who has given all they have to the development of us as missionaries, and in helping thousands of people in Paraná accept the restored gospel. Sweet on the other hand, because we had chocolate/strawberry pizza... hence bittersweet. Sister Cordon gave the little dog poop in the brownies object lesson that Bishop Monnie did back in the day, and talked about how just a little bit of disobedience will ruin our ability to have the Spirit with us. (I still remember sitting in the living room of Bishop Monnie when someone... I think it was Crismon Lewis... started chowing down their brownie before Bishop could explain that it wasn´t to eat). President Cordon opened up a question and answer session which was one of the neatest experiences I´ve had on the mission until now. He really is a wonderful man, and will be dearly missed.

Today is a very special day. Because we marked the marriage and baptism date of Vilson and Valdete in the courthouse!! This has been the longest, most complicated series of hoops I have ever had to jump through... I think it might be easier for the USA to win the World Cup than to marry a divorced man with a widow in São José dos Pinhais with universal union of stuffs (that´s more or less how you translate `Comunhão Universal de Bens`)... When your mix in money, it all gets complicated. But after almost 2 months of fighting, we marked the date. July 20th. If you want to, you can mark it on your calendar too... everybody in the ward is.

So there exists here a big huge series of parties in the month of June to celebrate the special day of a bunch of catholic saints... And while the church doesn´t exactly sponsor a Saint John party, they basically do, but call it the Festa Junina which is to say `June Party` (this is basically the same thing we do... it´s not a Halloween party, its a fall festival!) It originates from the NE of Brasíl, and the hometown of Elder Silva has the biggest party in the world for this particular celebration. The stated reason for the party is to celebrate the harvest of the corn (remember that the seasons are flipped here and we are now in winter) but here in the south of Brasíl where there isn´t much corn, it just to have a big party and drink `quentão` which is a  hot grape juice/ginger drink. It was pretty much the best party I´ve ever seen in a church, and all without alcohol! We had well over 20 investigators there... Now we´re talkin!

Speaking of parties... Even though I won´t be at home for 4th of July, last night we got to watch the fireworks, as Brasíl celebrated their victory over Spain (3-0) in the Federation Cup! I wasn´t watching, but when you are in Brasíl, you hear about EVERYTHING that happened in the big games. Looks like something has awakened in all these Brazilians who had been looking forward glumly to the World Cup because they had no hope for a very young Team Brasíl.

Dos Filhos Destes Solo Es Mãe Gentil Pátria Amada Brasíl

We´re fighting off a little bit of sickness so pray for us.


Elder House