Monday, September 30, 2013

Bonsucesso Semana 11 (and 10)

Well it´s not every day that you get to interview someone with a big gaping hole in their neck with a swollen face and blood dripping from their left ear.

Meet Jeronimo.

Jeronimo lives in a little place called Riozinho de Baixo in the municipality of the great Paranaense metropolis of Rebouças, where the population of cows greatly exceeds the number of people, and none of the little farm huts have numbers, and letters are sent to a little wooden slot in the one room schoolhouse about 3 miles up the road. He and his wife first visited the church about 8 years ago. Unfortunately, they didn´t really want all to much do to with it, but let their two sons be baptized. These two young men served honorable full time missions and when they returned were permitted to open a branch in a city called Irati. Jeronimo suffered several life-threatening illnesses and was interned in a hospital for over a year. When the new missionaries arrived in Irati with fire in their bones they were asked by one of these sons to visit Jeronimo in the hospital and give him a blessing. In the blessing, he was given special promises regarding his health and about the importance of baptism. Well he left the hospital early last week and called up the missionaries... or rather his wife called up the missionaries and called them to come as fast as possible to review with him all he needed to know to be baptized. So we ran over there as fast as our J. Araujo Ônibus would take us to teach and interview him and his wife. I had the privilege to sit in his house with the Spirit testifying to every word of the Plan of Salvation and to hear him explain his experience, even though it hurt to talk, he wanted to testify to the things that he knew. Here in Paraná that´s one more family completed. The Lord does His own work, the only thing we can do is get in the way.

After the interview we had a few hours to kill so we prayed that we could find the family that the Lord had prepared for us, He of course knowing that we would have this extra time, even if we didn´t. I picked the street, my companion picked the house. Eléitos. There was a family waiting at home, deciding whether or not they would go to church, but talking about the problems they saw in having so many religions in the world today and talking about how they wished there was a Mórmon church that they could visit... (many of their relatives are members of the church in another city)... but they thought that their city was too small to have the church. So we taught them about the Restoration of the Gospel. The room filled with the Spirit and tears as they learned that Jesus Christ once again called a prophet, and that Christ restored His church to the earth, and that they would have the opportunity to become a part of this kingdom.

This is why I´m a missionary. I´m on a mission to find the people who I promised to find. To teach the people who the Lord planed for me to teach. And I am very humbled every time the Lord shows me once again, that He does His own work. And sometimes all we need to do is not get in the way.

Read the scriptures.

Watch conference.

Pray for the missionaries and for someone you can invite to hear their message.

-Elder House

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bonsucesso Semana 9

Rain fallin
Bye bye pollen
Church packed
Talks by Holland

The lovely rain has returned to this lovely little town and has turned the favela to mud. Luckily, unlike the other areas, this one is about 75% paved. Last night i woke up in a thunderstorm and all of our windows were open... somehow my body reacted before my mind and I had my feet on the ground before I woke up and could understand why I had leaped off the bunk bed. Luckily nothing got too wet. Even now it´s doing that little NW drizzle business that will probably last the whole week Woohoo tracting with an umbrella. The upside? It is pulling all of the pollen out of the air and the allergies are gone! Those awesome mid-first-vision-sneeze-attacks will be a thing of the past...

`Eu vi um pilar de luz, acima de minha... ACHOOOOO... descupla... minha cabeça, mais brilhante que o sol`          Yup, where I come from, rain is a good thang

We finally are getting people to church! Our little branch had a walloping attendance of 84 yesterday, and we got lots of people to church to visit. Everyone is accepting chapel tours and it is helping bastante to get people to an activity or a church service.

Today we got our eyebrows singed a little bit listening to a few talks by Elder Holland. It´s good practice for my companion, and its rather motivating for the two of us.

A nifty little activity that our branch did to help the missionary work was a `bate porta` where a bunch of members went out armed with pass along cards offering the Finding Faith in Christ DVD and passed all of the references to us. When I first heard what they were gonna do, I thought `o goodness, that´s about the most JW thing in the world that I could imagine us doing.` We ended up being on divisão (I don´t know all the mission lingo in English... maybe it is exchanges?) in another city and I was a little bit nervous how it would go... Turns out that there is something to that whole thing about the Bishops and Branch Presidents having the keys to the missionary work! It was exactly what we needed to find two or three great families to start teaching. I´m still not convinced that the activity in and of itself was the key, but it was the combined effort of our branch to bring more happiness to their neighbors.

I know the Savior lives. I know that He loves us. I know that this is His work. I know that we can help His work if we ask Him how He wants it to be done.


Elder House

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bonsucesso Semana 8 (and 7)

I think I´ll have to send out the weekly email on the weeks that I don´t have to do the Zone Report :) I feel like that little elf from the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie... Busy busy busy!

Today we went to a waterfall called `São Francisco` which was very nifty. It reminded me quite a bit of Multnomah Falls... and has almost 200m of fall.

Well transfers happened and guess what? My companion was called to be the new AP! It was pretty cool to watch lighting strike at my side and walk out unharmed :) I received as my new companion, Elder F. Silva. He´s a stud and was trained at the same time as me in the ward just to the east of the Ramo Colombo... so we were already pretty good friends and always joked about being LZ´s out in Guarapuava... imagine how we felt when it happened about 5 months later!

This week we were in Curitiba and Prudentópolis doing baptismal interviews and receiving leadership training. President Fernandes has a very lofty vision of where he wants our mission to go. I am very excited to help it happen!

One of our investigators had a baptismal date for yesterday and was progressing so well!! She had stopped drinking, smoking, and a bunch of other stuff, was coming to church, activities, etc but was also looking for work. She was having a really hard time finding a job but (we thought) her and our prayers were answered when she started working at the Superpão Supermarket... but that means she is at the bottom of the totem pole and has to work Sundays for several weeks :( So our prayers were (sort of) answered.

This week we once again reworked our teaching pool... is turns over more easily than that old Chevy S10 we used to have. But it means that we get to know pretty much EVERYONE in the city. Even the dogs know us! If you think I´m kidding you should spend a half hour with Elder Gomes and you´ll see all of the dogs that we pass by get all excited cause they know that he´ll scratch behind their ears! The dude is crazy, but that´s why he got called to be AP :)

The hot weather (and thunderstorms) returned so I´m thinking about having some little old seamstress make me up some sort of umbrella sheath. (The good thing about always having an umbrella on ya, is you always have some sort of defense against the dogs who aren´t dumb enough to run away when you reach down like you´re gonna grab a rock to wallop ´em with.)


Elder House