Monday, July 28, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 6

Last transfer call. I´m stayin put! Elder Ritchie is goin out to Gurapuava (that cold place out in the middle of the nowhere) and I´m now with Elder Forsyth who i´ll train as a zone leader! Woohoo! My third gringo companion.

Speaking of gringo companions, today I got the wedding announcement from Victor Trevisanut and I opened it up with Elder Gonzales. We both got super trunky, and I told Elder Gonzales to write a FB message to Victor with "parabéns." Elder Gonzales and Elder Rocha are on their way to the airport as we speak. It´s crazy when you are the oldest missionary in the mission, and many of your best friends on the mission have already finished. But that´s how it goes right?

This week we had an awesome baptismal service of Juan (pronounced as if it were spanish) and we were very excited to see all of his family at church again. They are such a special family that we worked with to help come back to church. The father of the family ordained his two sons to the aaronic priesthood, and Juan was confirmed. This transfer we only had one baptism, but we have 6 people reactivated who hadn´t come to church for over 2 years. I will try to take pictures with each of them in these coming weeks.

Afonso Pena is the sister ward of Jardim Ipê, so I see the recent converts from Ipê every sunday! And it looks like a third ward is going to be formed from Ipê and Afonso Pena!! It was my dream that I would see the day that Ipê would divide and I think I´ll still be here when it happens. I think that as a Zone Leader, I´ll probably end up in the newly created ward, but who knows?

Our teaching group somehow filled up with people who believe in reencarnation, so Elder Ritchie and I have been learning how to help people understand the resurrection. It is very interesting that reencarnation denys the power of Jesus Christ... because perfection is attained through trial and error and progress over many lives. Which completely cuts Christ out of the picture. The reality is that Christ overcame death and sin and taught the gospel to help us put of the natural man and become a saint. I don´t have time to write out all the things we are teaching, but I felt that I should make a quick comment about this.


I hope that all is well at home and that someone is freezing blackberries.


Elder House

Monday, July 21, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 5

Churrasco! We had an awesome zone churrasco today. Maminho, contra filé, linguiça, and costelinha de porco. Then we played a little frisbee and uno. Finally the sun is shining so we are taking advantage of it!

To tell about the week, I don´t know where to start. We are teaching so many good families that it would be hard for me to share about them all. But there´s one success story that I want to share.

Jefferson. 27 years old. Baptized 5(ish) years ago. Suffers from epilepsy. Went less active after becoming involved in something or another in a soccer stadium and spending some time in a cold place thinking about what he did. Picked up a smoking habit (along with a few others). - Jefferson was waiting for a chance to come back to church, but he with the bad habits that he developed and the drastic changes that he made (for the worse) he didn´t know how. We were teaching his cousins next door, but we were ready to drop them from the teaching pool because they weren´t ready to progress, when one day Jefferson was at the gate smoking. When he saw us he threw the cigarette away and shouted out to us that he was a member of the church. We sat down with him and started talking and he needed to vent. We invited him back to church and he was waiting for us at the gate that Sunday. It´s only been about a month, but with steady study of the scriptures, church attendance, and living all of the commandments as well as he could, he gained the forces he needed to overcome the addictions. And this week he smoked his last cigarette. Needless to say we are very excited for him! The bishop still hasn´t interviewed him, and we had to break the bad news that he probably wasn´t ready to go to the temple with the ward yet, but he is very excited to continue putting his life in order, and help his mother prepare for baptism.

Okay one more...

Benedito and Elieleia. A middle aged couple with a daughter (25), son (15) and two grandsons (7&8). Daughter had two children and decided she didn´t like them (after she discovered that one had severe mental disability and problems in the intestine), and now they are being raised by their grandparents. This was a huge burden on their shoulders and they have been working hard for the past 7 years to help their grandson with special needs. The daughter took off with some guy and they are alone with lots of work to do. We shared a little bit of the Plan of Salvation with them and read in Jeremiah about how we lived with Heavenly Father before we were born, and how we were prepared for the challenges that we face. The Spirit was very powerful as they recognized that the reason why Luan was given to them is because the Lord trusts in them enough to give them a child with special needs. Then Elder Ritchie and I sung "Sou um filho de Deus" and they became a bit emotional. This week we will return and finish talking about the Plan of Salvation, and help them come visit the church with us next Sunday.

I love being a missionary. I´m glad that I still have bastante time to serve!


Elder House

Monday, July 14, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 4

Well Brasil was eliminated from the runnings for the World Cup... and was run over by the Germans. So for the last game (consolation 3rd/4th place) we worked normally, because nobody was too excited about the game. But I have to make a quick commentary about the Brasil x Argentina rivalry. Even though Germany destroyed Brasil, you wouldn´t belive the number of German flags we saw yesterday as they played Argetina. And when they won over argentina, you would´ve thought that Brasil had won the world cup! I think that they were just as excited that argentina didn´t win, as they would´ve been if brasil had won.

This week was awesome. I went on exchanges with Elder Costa and we worked "até o pó"! It was great to arrive in an area that I didn´t know at all and find new people to teach to help them build up a teaching pool. I also got to visit a deaf lady that I interviewed for baptism last week (using the very little brazilian sign language that I was able to pick up) but this time, the gift of tongues was working better, and I was able to communicate well and prayed in signs that impressed Solange!

The sun came out a bit this week! And we were recieved better by everyone. Yesterday we taught an awesome lesson to a lady who has lots of catholic and afro-spiritual beliefs about little saint figures and reincarnation, etc. But Elder Ritchie used a scripture so simply and effectively that I was almost shocked at how strongly the Holy Ghost testified to what we had read. Moroni 7:40-41. Now she understands what she should have hope in so that she can have the faith necessary for the Lord to respond to her prayers. It was awesome.

Well we are gonna go clean up the "green house". And sleep. 10 days of work is a lot to handle.


Elder House

Friday, July 4, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 3

Well Brasil won the last game against Chile, and they´re gonna play Colombia today (sorry Michael Nunziato... but Brasil is gonna win) so that means preparation day got bumped up once again.

Today being 4th of July, the family who we ate with made "american grilling" which was bacon burgers with pineapple and spicy ketchup (pretty close to bbq sauce). It is also my companions birthday, and he opened a super ultra mega trunky letter (or series of letters) from a girl back home and is now floating in the clouds. Perhaps the feijoada that I´ve got on the stove will bring him back to reality :)

This week we are having an awefully difficult time entering homes. So we are using more materials such as old Liahona magazines, family history booklets, plan of salvation booklets, etc. We are also having a bit of a hard time having our members not fall through to go on splits with us. In the last 2 days, we had 8 members cancel on us. So we had to flake out on several of our investigator families which was a huge bummer. Add in today wehre we won´t be able to teach anybody during the evening hours, and we´re havin a rocky week. When we have open time, our investigators aren´t at home. When we have appointments marked, the membesr aren´t able to go with us to visit everyone. But the good news, is that Saturday and Sunday we´ve got a lot of time for teaching.

Hope that all is well with the family and that 4th of July was awesome. If you want to give me an update on how y´all are doin I love to hear about.


Elder House