Haha well today the computers decided to freak out on us... so I have like no time. But I think I will be able to crank out a pretty good letter! Last week on tuesday we had a special meeting with the capital part of the mission (all the areas close to the city) and we learned about coping with stress as missionaries, I guess the church is starting this new program to help missionaries with that, and it was really good. Haha I definitely learned a lot! Me, stressed? Never. Haha then right afterwards I went on splits with Elder M. Souza, a brazilian in our district and we went to Mairiporã, this absolutely beautiful city! It is a lot smaller, outside of São Paulo, in the hills and next to this huge reservoir. It is so beautiful, trees everywhere and I just loved it the entire time. We worked our butts off and taught so many people who were being prepared ofr hte gospel, it was so great! Then Elder Mussin came up to Mairiporã for a baptismal interview and I did splits with the other elder, Elder Vieira, also brazilian, and loved working with him as well! It was just great! Then (this is Wednesday by now) we were told by the office we had to go to the Policia Federal the next day and that they wanted us to go to the office wednesday night and sleep there and then go with them the next morning, so after the bus back to Vila Sabrina and the 45 minute walk to our house, we changed really quick, ate a quick thing of food, and then started our way towards the office in the center of São Paulo. Haha it was such acrazy couple days of traveling all over São Paulo! By the time we were going to the office we were on the train in the middle of the city at night in areas neither of us had ever been, hoping we were going the right way! haha it was so much fun, super tiring, and I just loved it! We slept at the office (they have beds there for the missionaries and the secretaries live there) and the next morning made our way to the Policia Federal!and...
I AM OFFICIAL!! Haha so that was great! I can now stay here for another year, then I will have to return and renew my visa again so I can stay another year after that. That was good, then we went back to the office and started our way back to our area. The bus to go to our area is just past the temple as well, so we walked past it and I saw it for the first time which was great, I guess if our area is near the capital we get to go every three months, so that was exciting to ehar! It is beautiful and I got some pictures but I will have to send those another time since i have like no time. But funny story, as I was walking just past the temple, we saw some missionaries up ahead from a different mission, we said hello, shook all their hands, and the last one was just looking at me with this huge grin on his face and it was Aaron Jensen!!! From our Stake!! It was crazy, I had completely forgotten he was serving here, in the East Mission, haha and so random that in the third largest city in the world I would run into a person who I knew from Littleton Colorado! It was great, we got pictures which I will send in the future! Also, I got a awesome letter from katy at the office and a pillow, which I haven't had up until now because I forgot to grab one before I went to my area from the office and now I am sleeping wonderfully! Haha I have been sleeping well using an extra blanket as a pillow, but now I know what true happiness is while sleeping. It´s been great!
Then the rest of the week was good, it is getting way hot, but I am enjoying it (also trying to stay positive about the heat) haha on Saturday we seriiously had an amazing day. We had so many people to teach and had 7 people on date for this next saturday which was so exciting! I was so grateful because you have so many days that are just really hard and you feel like no one is really listening or keeping commitments. But Saturday was not like that! It was so great!!!! Haha and then we had Sunday. Sunday was rough. None of those people came to church. Which means they cant be baptized this Saturday. it just killed me. It was really hard. Not only because they didnt come to church but because of it meaning they cant be baptized as well, especially because these people are so faithful and willing, they seriously just had crazy things come up in their lives. We had members helping us, we were searching for people, but they just couldnt come which was rough. But Jo and Lorivaldo, our two awesome investigators who are waiting to get married so they can be baptized came so that was great! And I just remembered after praying in the bathroom of the church that times like this happen, all I can do is continue forward, help these people, and do all I can while praying for the help I need. Haha because I will always need help. That is for sure, I have had my testimony of prayer strengthened so much. Sunday evening I asked my companion if we could ask the bishop who has been on his mind that we could visit, he told us of this member whos mom and husband both arent members, whos mom has been sick and asked for a blessing. So we went there, she asked us to give her one, and we asked how the woman was doing as well. While holding her baby she just broke down in tears and just said it has been really hard for her to do with everything, she also works 44 hours a week and their baby is 1 years old and needs a lot of attention, all while her mom is sick, and her husband works all the time as well. So I felt prompted to ask if she would like a blessing as well to which she said she really felt she needed one. So we gave them both blessings and I gave her the blessing, which was my first one in Portguese. It was very humbling. My words or lack of understanding didnt get in teh way, and no, I wasnt all of a sudden fluent or anything, but I just had this peace as I was able to help this woman feel comfort and peace in her life. It was a great experience. So Sunday was rough and really great!
Overall a very great week!Haha so there you go! I love you all so much, i have been keeping you in my prayers, I took pictures of our apartment and I will send those in the future as well! I am doing really well, eating a lot, and feeling good! Also pretty fat and out of shape even though I still am super skinny, and could probably still do pretty well on a run or race! Love you all!! Haha I actually cranked out a really good one this week with little time!
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I have officially been in São Paulo for almost a month!! How absolutely insane and crazy is that!?! And I am loving it! Last week was very similar to the weeks before it, a lot of ups and downs, but for the most part ups! It is really starting to crank up with the heat here. Haha it is killing me. I am already starting to get a tan line on my collar, and I am in a constant state of overheating. Haha it is nice though when it rains, those days are the best by far.
Last week we had a great district meeting where we practiced inspired questions. We had practiced this in Bozeman and I love it so much! When we were practicing I felt such peace and calm, the first time I felt confident practicing with our district full of brazilians and veteran missionaries who all speak fluently. It´s funny that I was most confident in going into a practice having no idea what I was going to say because I was going to completely listen to the Spirit on what to say. it was awesome to see that the questions we asked and the things we said were exactly what the missionaries needed for the investigators they were role playing as. It was great!
I also had another blessing last week. I GOT PEANUT BUTTER! Haha it is called creme de amendoim here and really isnt the same but it is very close! They dont sell it anywhere but we found it in this one market place and I absolutely was in heaven having peanut butter this last week.
Haha last week we had a rough start because we had a super hot day and our appointments fell through, things just werent going our way and we werent feeling too great about it. It is hard when you dont see many results after working so incredibly hard! But then the next day we had a huge blessing: it absolutely poured all day long!!! So then the bigger blessing that day: we taught so many people and found two new investigators! The new investigators thing was big because we had decided that we needed to take a leap of faith and stop teaching some of our investigators. The reason we are doing this is because we are teaching a couple people who are not keeping committments and just dont have a desire to learn more or do the things to learn more, which is hard because you really grow to love these people when teaching them and so it is so hard to see them not do the things that you know lead to happiness eternally. But we felt we needed to demonstrate our faith by trying to find new people who are being prepared by God to hear our message and live the Gospel. So on the day it was pouring, Wednesday, we taught a couple new people, passed by a contacts house and committed him to be baptized, and also tried to find a referral, but knocked on a door across the street to ask where the house number was we were looking for. This older lady told us the person had moved a while ago, but she accepted us into her house for a message and absolutely loved it! She lives just with her mom who is... 102 YEARS OLD! haha it is crazy, she cant hear really or see very well so she just sits there and smiles at us and tell us´´vai com Deus´´ a lot. Haha but the woman, Maria, we told her about the Plan of Salvation and that her family can be an eternal family, and she loved it. Well we didnt really have a lot of time but we returned yesterday and it turns out she had read the whole pamphlet we left her, and then called her daughter and read her the whole thing, to which her daughter said she needed to talk with us and learn more about this religion and how families can live togther forever. And we committed Maria to be baptized! It was so cool to see that we were led to this family and other people being prepared, even if it took a lot of walkign around and other things to find them!
The rest of the week it felt like we walked so much! Haha thank goodness for running, I remember all the crazy workouts I have done and all of a sudden walking isnt so bad! Funny story, we have daylight savings ehre as well, and in district meeting the zone leaders told us to change our clocks ahead one hour friday night for Saturday. So that was rough waking up at what felt like 5:30 when it was 6:30, but we did it. Well that day seriously all our appointments fell through. Appointments we felt like were for sure going to happen. Fast forward to 7 pm and we were going to an appointment with the great family who came to church last week and we were waiting to go with a member of the ward. We were waiting for him and getting nervous at more and more time went by and it was 7:10. We called and it turns out we and the zone leaders were wrong... day light savings didn't start until Sunday!! Haha we felt so incredibly dumb. Our appointment fell through because we were an hour early. Haha it was seriously the biggest smack on the head. I laughed so hard when I found out because of how tired I was from that day. But it was cool to see because when we had not had those appointments we actually got to contact a lot of people we needed to talk to and would not have been able to if we were at other places, so even in our mistake we were blessed. Haha but seriously, it was so painfully funny.
That family that is so great is still so great! We found out they arent married which pushes back hope for them getting baptized soon, marriage here is pretty expensive and no one does it. Seriously like no one here is married, it just isnt as much a cultural thing like it is in theh US, but it was so cool to see that they both feel like they need to be baptized and so they are going to get married as soon as possible, like in a week or two so they can then be baptized. I love teaching them and it is cool to see that s they feel the spirit and their testimonies start to grow marriage is now important to them and they naturally want to do it so they can enjoy the blessings of baptism and eternal marriage.
It was so awesome hearing how great everyone's week was, happy belated birthday mom!! I am so glad you got my letter in time for your birthday, haha i was praying so hard it would get to you! Also, this is to all the world: MY LITTLE BROTHER BRADLEY IS A STUD!!!!!!!!!! Haha great work BooBoo!
Love you all!
at 2:11 PM
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Well this week was by far my favorite week in São Paulo thus far. And yes, I am aware I have only been here three weeks, but I loved it. The weather is definitely warming up here, haha I am beginning to roast and wonder why missionaries cant wear a really nice pair of shorts or something, but that´s ok, I can do hard things. This last week during District Meeting we were doing practices for teaching lessons and I realized that I can actually say a lot of the things that come to my mind. haha that was an exciting thought, I really am enjoying portuguese more and more, and i have a renewed motivation to learn it and to speak like the Paulistas (people from the São Paulo) so that they can focus on what I am saying, not how I am saying it. This week i also was trying to have a renewed effort to stay positive in all that I do, which most of the time is not very hard for me, but when I cant understand what everyone around me is saying, haha at times it is easy to get down. But I am staying positive and smiling to just about everyone! Some details about where I am serving! São Paulo is absolutely huge. So huge. And very modern, but mainly in the central parts of the city. I am on the northern edge and the houses here are very different, everyone has a gate of some kind and we have to clap to get their attention, so they can come out of their house and come to the gate and unlock it. The streets are absolutely crazy, but I am used to that now! Haha we were on the bus last week and I saw a bunch of cars driving really fast on the wrong side of the road which made me a little worried but apparently that is pretty normal! It is also very humbling seeing the conditions that a lot of people live in. There is trash seriously everywhere, and a lot of the houses are really really small or in pretty destitute conditions. Our area has some favellas (slums) but also has some pretty wealthy areas, but these areas are pretty much just like suburbs in the US, but down here they are really nice.
I found out from President Mecham that my mission in Montana is now being a pilot mission to use ipads in proselyting efforts... haha but that´s ok, I am loving Brazil more and more, although that does sound fun!
Like I said, getting hotter here, right now I am absolutely roasting in a Lan-house (little internet cafes they have here, haha this one doesnt really have fans or anything hence me dying.) It is pretty cloudy here a lot and the air is extremely polluted, as are all the rivers. Seriously, I am positive if you go in the rivers here in the city you will come out with two heads or dead. I am pretty sure that they would make Dad cry.
We have a ton of different accents here as well, people come from all over Brazil! Also, it is interesting because a lot of times we will say hi to people and they will completely ignore us, just stare past us and keep on walking. Apparently a lot of the churches here teach that they aren't allowed to even talk to people from other religions which I thought was very interesting. But I usually think it is pretty funny because we are saying hi pretty loudly and they are very determined to not acknowledge us! Ah well! Most other people are very friendly and will accept any type of message about religion.
This last weekend we had three baptisms! I was so excited, Emanoel and Mariana, an old couple I told you about, and Matteus, a twelve year old boy of some less active members of our ward here. It was a great experience for everyone, the ward was super supportive and a lot of people came and Elder Mussin baptized Mariana and Matteus, and I baptized Emanoel which was a really cool experience for me. As we were leaving the font I felt the Spirit so strongly and loved it as he told me how good he felt. It was a sweet experience, but then after the baptism on Saturday we were trying to find more people to teach since three of ours had just gotten baptized, we hadn't had much luck that week, but we were working hard and ran into a family who had tried to contact before but we never could run into them, well we taught them a lesson that turned out great and we really felt the Spirit, and then they came to church on Sunday!! It was so great to see, and they loved it. It is pretty hard to get people to come to church here and so we were so grateful that they came and they said it was a blessing that they had come.
Last week we had to go to the Policia Federal to register as an official resident of Brazil, so we had to leave at like 5:30 AM since we were taking the bus and we traveled there and met up with a bunch of other american missionaries here in our mission who had to register or renew their time here. Well as I was being processed, I found out my visa says I am only here for 90 days... which is not correct obviously. So the lady said a bunch of fast Portuguese and talked to the missionary in charge of us there, and he joked with me saying I was going yo have to go back to the US. Thank goodness he was joking, but he said he would try to fix it and we would have to return in a couple weeks to register with the police. So that was interesting, haha I am still not official here in Brazil, and I hope that they can fix it and everything will go smoothly. I am sure everything will be fine and it will work out exactly as it is supposed to. But it was interesting all the same!
Fun story, last week we were on the street trying to contact people and right as a woman was opening her gate, I saw a cockroach crawl onto Elder Mussin´s shoe and dissappear, well I started to freak out, stopped when the woman opened the door, but I didnt know how to say anything in Portuguese about it to Elder Mussin so as soon as she closed her gate I motioned for him to stomp his leg and when the thing fell off and ran away we both freaked out and got the chills. haha it was pretty funny but it was the first time I saw one down here and we both didn't like it very much. Also there is this one bar in one of the favellas down here that has a live band every night and whenever we walk by it in between apartments there is always this older woman who just stands there in the street and jams by herself to the music, it is hilarious because she dances very interestingly. But overall I felt very much so lifted up this week as I felt many times guided and led to people who had been prepared to hear our message. These people had met with the missionaries before but we had no record of them and all of a sudden we find them on the street, and their lives are in a place that they are ready to hear the gospel, it is very humbling to see us being led to these people. I love it here! Mom - that´s ok that you cant send ibuprofen, I don't really know, candy or little things like that from the US are nice, haha I don't really need much else, but any kind of snack or candy like sour patch kids or snickers or I don't really know what else oh, actually gold fish if you can, I love those things so much and miss them! Congrats Bradley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was praying so hard for you this whole last week that things would go well for you and I will continue to do so! Love you all, until next week!
at 3:30 PM
Well this last week was good, hard at times, but definitely good! It was hard last week as it felt like so many of our appointments with people were falling through, that was discouraging because we so badly want to help these people and help them be able to progress. I also found that as we worked with the time we had to find people on the streets we met success and were able to meet people we never would have otherwise. So that was nice to see that even when that was discouraging we were able to do that and be of service to the Lord.
The home will move sometime in the future, but for now send away! Haha I had the thought that my church music on CDs would be wonderful. We actually are allowed to listen to music but not with ipods, maybe booboo could do that. I dont need all of it,just a couple with some really good songs. Also maybe some ibuprofen, like a bottle of it, it is really really expensive here. But also no pressure with a box or anything, that can wait until whenever!! And I got to buy nutella!! Haha they don't really have peanut butter here which I was sad about but one day I saw nutella and it is pretty expensive but i had to buy it so I did! We get plenty to live off of and yes i am eating enough, don't worry, a lot of the Americans here are fat, haha so I don't want to become fat! The weather is pretty cold right now, colder than it was in Montana when I left, but I am dealing with it and Elder Mussin lets me use some of his sweaters. I will deal with that eventually but summer is on it's way so not now. Also I need help on my credit card, what are the rules and charges and things like that right now? I haven't used it and don't really need to but just in case I would like to know. Elder mussin is doing well, hahaa he actually said and members have said that I have a better accent than he does because spanish makes him say a lot of things like he would in spanish, so thats good that english and portuguese are so different I guess, although he has been teaching me a ton so that is nice! I am sorry, I dont really have a lot of time, but dont be afraid to write stuff, I love hearing from all of you, and I am keeping all of you in my prayers! Booboo, good luck this week! Kill it and I am praying for you! Love you all!!!!!!!!!
But teaching has gone well besides a lot of appointments falling through, I am getting more confident in Portuguese and it is pretty easy to approach people or at doors haha it is just difficult to understand what they say after that. I was having it kind of tough at the beginning of the week but I decided to just change my attitude, think positive, hum some hymns, and that night I asked E Mussin to give me a blessing which was way nice. I didnt understand all of it but I understood what I felt through the Spirit. This whole last week I was so incredibly excited for General Conference and we seriously invited everyone we talked to to it. I was trying my best to prepare for it and had questions in my heart that I wanted answered. Well come to Saturday, we get to the church and find out from the ZLs who are American that they cant find the cord they need to watch it... I was literally heart broken. I was so wanting to be lifted up and edified and instead it was going to be a translating experience, not a really spiritual one. Well I prayed my guts out, we kept looking, and a couple minutes after it started I opened a drawer and found it!!! Haha we were so exited and I got to watch all the sessions except for priesthood because it started at 9 here in English! So that was definitely a little miracle. Another cool ting is how missionary oriented it was! It was so great, I absolutely loved it and loved hearing such wonderful talks. Then on Sunday between the sessions, we went to contact people and invite them to the last session because our area is too far away to walk there and back and be productive in between sessions, well we met this guy who was a part of another church and didn't really like ours, kind of yelled at us a bit but when asked if he knew anyone who could benefit from our message he said his brother who had converted to Judaism and lived down the street. Well we go, he comes to the gate and immediately opens it which was strange, then he invites us in and when we tell him we wanted to invite him to something he was confused and said he thought we had a message for him and a booklet about families. Turns out he had gotten a pass along card from a member friend, wants to start a family and requested a book the church has on eternal families, spoke with the missionary over the phone and said he would accept a message as well, but the area hadn't gotten this referral from the church yet. Well we shared a quick message and then invited him and he said he would really like to come to conference but needed to change and shower first! So we went contacting for 10 more minutes, he comes out in a suit and is super excited and he watches conference with some Brazilian elders in our zone. Haha it was so cool to be a tool in the hand of the Lord and randomly meet him before we even had gotten a referral to go see him from the Church and for him to have a great experience at Conference, something he would not have had if the referral was what had first contact with him. But that was way cool.
Conference was such an incredible boost to me. I seriously felt so re energized and really felt the importnace of covenant keeping and being patient and enduring al things in life in order to receive blessings from our Heavenly Father. Overall it was way exciting! I had a rough week but it ended in an incredible way with little miracles and Conference.
Mom, the mission address is the same!
R. Dr. Rui Batista, 165
15507-080 Sao Paulo, SP
at 3:14 PM
Friday, October 4, 2013
Haha so this week has been extremely eventful. It was so incredibly hard to leave Montana, it really surprised me actually. I was so bummed to say goodbye to the Mecham´s, they are truly incredible people. In the Salt Lake Airport I met up with two other missionaries going to Brazil, one to my mission. On the flight from SLC to JFK I had a great experience! I was able to sit next to this lady named Tanya who lived in Long Island and we got talking about her weekend and it somehow turned to the topic of families and that our genders are something divine, so i had her read my mini Family: A Proclamation to the World and she loved it. Then we started talking about death and life after death and that even though it can be very very difficult, it also can be a strengthening experience for us. She started crying as we shared our beliefs and I was able to bear testimony to her that I know that families can be together forever and that those whom we love who pass away live still and we can see them again. She was just ana awesome person and I had been praying the days before to be able to meet someone I could share the gospel with on the flights. I was so grateful and then I was able to write my testimony in the Book of Mormon as well as the Mormon.org info and give it to her right before we landed, at which point she started crying again. haha it was super cool! Then as wel left the airplane a man in a wheel chair stopped myself and the other elder and told us he converted to the churhc a year ago and he has cancer and wanted a blessing. Well he lived in new york, we had a plane to Brazil to catch, so we gave him a blessing right in the middle of JFK with interesting music playing and interesting people all around us, but it was so cool to feel the Spirit as we were able to give this man comfort through words from our heavenly father. Then I had a good long flight to Brazil, we got here like 10 AM the next day and it then took us like 2 hours to get to the mission home because traffic here is so crazy. Haha that is one thing i really learned, there is a reason missionaries dont ride bikes or drive in Brazil, the roads and drivers here are absolutely insane! Like so insane. It was definitely interesting. But we got here, I was able to meet the other missionaries, which was different since most of them were brazilians and loved talking SUPER fast. Haha but I met President Martins and he is great, super funny, but also very strict in his rules. In some ways he is very similar to President Mecham, in others not as much, but he is a great man all the same. I had a pretty short interview with him and then found out I would be going to Vila Sabrina and be companions with Elder Mussin, an elder from Argentina who doesn´t speak english. Haha so we came here and our apartment is interesting, definitely not like my old super nice one! But I am getting used to it and to the things that are different here. The food here is really good, that has been different as we eat lunch with te members and not dinner, and most of the times we are working so much that we dont really eat dinner, but that´s ok, I love it! There is so much work to do here, it´s ridiculous. We seriously walk around all day just teaching people, I also have found Brazilians have a lot of problems with the law of chastity, coming to church, and keeping appointments. Haha but at the same time they are also super religious and talking about religion is a common things on the street. There are some Bolivianos here as well, they are very hard working people and love it when I tell them my dad served there. We have like 20 investigators right now and 4 people on date for baptism on the 12th of October. On Saturday we had a baptism, this 50 year old lady named Joselangi, she is super kind and she actually asked me to baptize her, haha which was interesting since I don~t understand a lot of what she says! But I was able to and it was such an uplifting experience for me and was cool to help someone onto the path of going back to live with our Heavenly Father.
It´s interesting because everyone thinks I am either a Brazilian or a German, never American, haha until I speak! This 14 year old girl said she thought I was Brazilian until I opened my mouth, but I also have received a lot of compliments from people who are surprised it is my first week because I am speaking pretty well. So that is nice to hear, although sometimes I don~t understand when they say it beacuse they speak so fast! Haha ah well! Also, Elder Mussin is awesome, he is seriously a great missionary. I am loving working with him and it is great for my Portuguese to only speak it all the time. At times it can be super hard and lonely, this last week had a lot of ups and downs, especially when I am frustrated beause of the language barrier and all I want to do is go back and serve in Montana, but I have also found that even when I feel like I can~t talk with anyone, I can always talk with my Heavenly Father. He is always listening and he understands. I love prayer because I have had to do a whole lot of it this last week. This week has been hard but I am learing to love Brazil. Haha oh last night I had my first night time favella experience! It was interesting, on the weekends and especially in the favellas there is constatnyl loud music playing, tons of people, havoc everywhere, it is all very interesting and it makes it hard to teach so we dont go there a ton during those times but it was definitely pretty interesting for me to see.
Mom, you´d be proud of me, i hard core cleaned the walls of our apartment today, haha they needed it. I will send some pictures next week but I hope you all are doing well! I am keeping you in my prayers and so excited for General COnferene, I found out we always watch in English so we can fully understnd the words of the prophets! So excited! Also, it really isn´pt very expensive to send letters so I am going to do that in the future. Love you all!!!
at 2:14 PM