Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Halloween Tree"

I am just laughing here in my seat right now thinking about all of you watching Garfeild Halloween. That is honestly one of the best traditions ever if you ask me. That scary old pirate guy who steals their candy is for sure one of the funniest characters ever. Did you also get around to watching Halloween Tree?? I was thinking about that movie the other day and I don´t even have anyone near me to quote it with... What a shame.
On the other hand though, this week was ridiculous. Lately it seems all my weeks are ridiculous. I honestly am just so busy I don´t even have time to think straight. I love it though, because I honestly feel so focused. I feel like I am just always thinking about some deep gospel topic or some better way to make contacts and inspired questions. It is a good feeling to have. The week was busy because one, I got my new comp. I am going to answer Mom´s awesome questions right now then fill in the blanks later.

What's your new comp's name and where is he from, how long has he been out, etc? His name is Roberto Pájaro and he is from São Paulo. He has been out a year and 6/7 months. (The transfer before mine) and he is a blast. We have been friends for awhile because he worked in the mission office for 7 1/2 months and I got to know him really well because I called him a lot when I was in Viçosa and for other things. We are just having a blast together. It is nice to be back with another Brazilian too.

Have you had any people be more interested in the Church because of the exposure due to the US Presidential election? Not really. I don´t even know anything about the election. People ask me if I would vote for him and I just say " I have no idea what is going on there anymore so I dunno" Hahaha

We had some great conversations at the missionary  mom lunch earlier this week.  Is there anything you want me to say to them or ask them or share with them? Obviously tell them that I am a Big Deal. :D Really though just tell them that I am Brazilian and that I miss my friends a lot but I feel so cool knowing that I have a friend working every single hour of the day in the work of the Lord. I can´t believe Jake and Jordan are home... B-MILL is next!!

What do you like best about this new area? It is a branch with a lot of young people. I feel like I am back in Viçosa a bit and Viçosa is where I believe I grew up the most as a missionary and person. My comp is also the bees knees.

What is most different about this area compared to your other areas? I can see the beach and lots of airplanes.... Those kinda trunk me out though. There are also more then 30 different churches just on one road here... It is like Utah but not all of them are the same.... and true.

What's your weather like now? Hot. Really really hot.
What's your apartment situation, (number of missionaries, location etc)? We have one other companionship with us and the house is great. Really clean, a alot of space, two bathrooms/showers, and lots of lizards.

If I were to send one book, what would you like it to be? Hahaha oh boy this is a tough one.... Is temple and Cosmos a big book? I just worried about the weight is all. Maybe Doctrines of salvation 2 or The Pathway to Perfection by Joseph Fielding Smith.... or The Miracle of Forgiveness.

Well those questions pretty much just wrote my whole e-mail for me. We had our baptism for this week fall through again, which was really a bummer. I spent over an hour with her talking about the benefits and blessings of the Church, but she still didn´t quite understand the importance of baptism. That just shows there is still room for improvement with my teaching skills... I am really excited to get to know this Brazilian lady who lives in our ward. Do you know if she still speaks Portuguese?? Where did she live if she lived here in Brasil?? What team does she cheer for?

I better get going. I still have tons to do and very little time... It kills me how in the start of the mission it felt like the days would never end and now they end way too quickly..... I just gotta make it last that is all. I will get that picture for you soon Mom sorry!! Love you and stay fly! :)

Elder Big Deal

P.S. Did Danger make an awesome Micheal Jackson joke about the Thriller performance?? I can´t tell you how much I miss his jokes... Danger you would be a hit here in Brasil just to let you know.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Already Gone...."

Hello family!!

So to just get started with the news quick, Elder McCloskey is getting transferred....I am pretty bummed about it because we legit got along so well and probably had the funniest two weeks since I have been here in Brasil. He taught me a lot about the importance of obedience as a ZL and a lot about the area Boa Vista. The people really are going to miss him here and I hope I can create the same type of relationship with them and we can keep growing together. I get my new comp tomorrow so you guys have to wait one more week to find out who he is.

I already love this place though. It is not SUPER dangerous, but we have the most dangerous neighborhood in Brasil in our Zone so that is pretty neat. Mom this is one of the reasons I haven´t gotten that pic yet, just because I don´t like walking around with my camera. I will get it this week though for sure. Speaking of being in Brasil, this Thursday I will have 1 year here!! Crazy I know. I can´t believe how fast it has gone by and it still feels like I am new here for some reason. Yeah I have the language down and all that stuff, but I just still feel.... young hahaha.

Really not too much out of the norm happened here this week. We just did tons and tons of finding because their teaching group had just ended right when I got here and it was time to start contacting again. It seems like I always do that though hahaha. We did find some really solid potentials though and there are a few referral families I am excited to work with, so there is plenty to do here. One funny thing though about this week was early this morning we decided to go play some basket ball at the church and run to get there.... I am 100% positive I have lost any talent that I once had before the mission.... With any sport. Haha. I just got tired quick and made a fool of myself on the court. I don´t even wanna know what has happened to my Halo and Guitar Hero skills.... It is gonna be ugly. It did feel really good to run again though and I hope to get back into it when I get back home.

I really can´t think of what else to talk about.... As for a Christmas package the first things that came to mind were Got2BGlued hair gel and Beef Jerky. Both would be greatly enjoyed. I would ask for more books (Doctrines of Salvation I, II, III) but once again I am scared my bags will weigh too much because of all the books I have read. I have read over 20 books in my mission about gospel topics and that is not including the Standard Works. I love how much I have learned... I sometimes try to write it to you guys during my e-mails but I just can´t get it to sound right yet.... The Church is true though, that is all you need to know. :) I have to get going though cause Big Mac has to pack his bags and cut his hair still. I love you all and I am still blown away by that 7,000 missionary applications this past week. So cool. RY, be really excited. Have you already started your papers?? Just remember, you can´t leave until after May 15th 2013. Like a week after that I think I will let you go though :) Stay Sweet!!

Elder Big Deal

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Zoned Out"

Sounds like the ward "survived" the big changes and to be honest, I am excited that I will pretty much be coming back to the same ward that I left. I have noticed that out here... how much I really love the ward I have back at home. I will miss calling it, "the 10th ward", but now our ward just sounds like a bigger deal. Which I am fine with :)
I am sure you all have questions about where I am now and things, actually I know you do because Mom sent me a huge list. So I will answer her questions, then fill in the blanks a little bit after :)

Soooooooo where did you get transferred? I am now a Zone Leader in Boa Vista. It is back in Maceió and I can see the coastline in pretty much any part of my area!

Why? Still not a hundred percent sure on this one because the other elder who was here before was doing really well with my current comp. Maybe the area just needed a change... I am not sure.

What are you doing there? I am a ZL now which is a whole new bear to wrestle. I had to give a zone meeting my second day here and most of the zone didn´t even know there was a transfer. I love it though and we have three really strong districts here and a lot of good elders. There are no sisters here because this area is a bit more dangerous.

Who is your new comp and where is he from? My new comp is an American (really weird being with an American again, it has been almost a year), named Chase McCloskey from Provo Utah and he is awesome. We get along really great already and he is helping me get the hang of things. He has two transfers left and has a chance of getting transfered this next week because we have real transfers now.  

Are you living w/other elders? Yesh! One Brazilian who is training a brand new American misionary!! Oh my heck I love it. I have never been around a fresh greenie American and oh boy is it a hoot!  

What is your new area like? (walking a lot still, or in the city using public transportation? Hahaha dangerous. I saw a guy get hit by a car Saturday. It is also really beautiful because we can see the ocean from pretty much anywhere. We work with a branch that is growing quite rapidly, which is neat. They are really baptism focused, so this area is gonna be fun!

In all honestly that pretty much sums up what I had to tell you all this week... I am loving the new area and trying to learn it as quickly as possible because in reality McCloskey will probably get transfered next week. He already has three in this area and has already spent six months in just one area. I don´t think Pres would do that to him again. I am going to miss him though, if he does get transferred. I don´t know how to explain it. but we just got along so well and so quickly. I call him Mike Wasowski (Monsters Inc.) Sometimes :)
Ryley, I wanna hear about your mission ideas and when you can actually start putting your papers in. I am honestly so excited for you.I know so many other young women who are just stoked to get started and helping in the work. These sister missionaries will do so many miracles... I just know it! 

I hope you guys had a great week traveling, some of you, and the rest was just nice and relaxed. What Conference talks did you all like the most?? Stay sweet....

Elder Big Deal

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Spiritually tired........and sick"

Wow. That is honestly the only way I can really start this letter out. So much happened this week, here in the mish, at home, and in the world. I am so stinkin happy about it all too, but I am so spiritually beat.... I love this feeling though so much! My week here was pretty off the wall again. We had a leadership meeting Tuesday in Maceió so we went in Monday night and didn´t get back here till Tuesday night. The meeting was so awesome though. I honestly love Pres. Gonzaga so much. We talked about so many great leadership qualities and attributes and just had a really spiritual meeting. It was also really funny too. He is a bit more relaxed around the leaders in the mission and when he wants to be he is so funny. I also liked being around the other leaders because everyone is excited and focused on the work and I just get tons of new tips and advice that I can´t wait to apply in my own areas.

When we finally came back here I went on splits with the ZL´s to do some baptismal interviews for them. I legit had no time in my own area this week because I did over 6 interviews all over the city. The hard part about it was is I had a cold as well. I think I got it from someone in the leadership training. It is really hard to focus and feel the Spirit when you are sniffing and coughing the whole time, but I know that the Lord helped me with every single one of those interviews. I was pretty miserable though, but it was so worth it. The part that made it the hardest was just walking everywhere.  I was tired enough just being sick, but walking a ton didn´t help. So worth it though once again! 

Now let´s talk about Conference. I am going to answer your questions right now and then talk a little bit more about it if I still have more to say.

I am curious how much conference you got to watch, when, and where?  Did you watch w/investigators or members or other missionaries? I watched every session this time... and in English! Hooray!! I watched them all in the Stake Center and at the normal Brazilian times. I watched them in a separate room because I watched in English with another American missionary.... and we didn´t have any gators come :(

What talk did you enjoy the most? That is a toughy... I loved the "Ask the Missionaries" by L. Tom Perry because after we were making a lot of jokes like, "Need a wingman? Don´t ask the missionaries!" or "Need a break? Ask the missionaries and they will buy you a Twix!" I also really enjoyed Elder Holland's talk and Elder Bednar's. 

How do you feel about the new age guidelines for missionaries? The coolest thing ever. In Brasil young men could already leave being 18 because here they have required military service and you can opt out by doing missionary work. Yay! for the Army of God! Also for the sisters, I can´t wait to see how that will turn out. I thought of Ryley before anyone else of course, but I wanna talk to her about that personally :)

How do you feel about the reality that your little sis could possibly be leaving on a mission soon after you return from your mission? The coolest and craziest thought ever. My only thing is... I wanna see her before she goes... Not that I don´t miss you guys too, but, I have been missing Ry so much lately... I am like tearing up as I write this.

What do you wish you would have known or how do you wish you would have been better prepared to serve on your mission? Read Preach My Gospel and study the principles it teaches. That manual is pure revelation. Doctrine of Elder Guzy right here: The spirits in the Spirit World are doing the same work we are doing here and Preach My Gospel is exactly how they do the work there...and they baptize a lot of people if you didn´t know :)

What do you wish you could do better now? Obedience. It is so much easier to be obedient from the start than have to change and repent later. Breaking habits is rough!  

What is preventing you from doing that?
Haha I could give a million excuses, but the answer is just making myself commit.

Is there any sort of Halloween celebration in Brazil? Nope! When I was here last year they did nothing and in the part of Brazil I am in there is even less of a chance of activities. :( 

Describe your new area and a typical day of missionary work there. Hahaha walk a lot. It mostly depends on our week. Like this coming week we are going to be finding new people mostly. We just left a big teaching group that wasn´t progressing and now it is back to knocking door and getting referrals.

Name 3 things you have learned from your new companion. Humility in teaching; real heart-felt prayer, and how to flush the toilet in our house!

Name something in addition to your language that you have learned and applied as a missionary that you couldn't or didn't do before. Hmmmm the importance of converting people to the Gospel and the Church. Not to the goofy American kid teaching them about it.

How have your prayers changed and improved since you've been a full-time missionary? Hahaha So so so so much! One reason being the book "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven" I feel like my prayers are no longer the same thing every night but real conversations with Heavenly Father.

What aspect of your mission is more difficult than you anticipated? Bringing people to church.... I won´t comment on that again. 

What part is easier than you anticipated? I dunno about this one. Missionary work is just hard in general. But I am going to have to say finding new people to teach. At least for my mission. There are people everywhere and always waiting to here the good word.

Well I just got a call that I am getting Emergency Transferred so I am going to wrap this up quick.... Yeah I legit just got off the phone with the ZL´s. Gotta love missionary life. I have no idea where I am going or what is going to happen. I really liked my.... 4 weeks here in this area and I hope the new guy treats it well. I am kinda... weirded out right now. I love you all and I am glad Conference was an inspiring time for everyone. Stay sweet.... 

Elder Big Deal

P.S. Did you guys hear Pres. Eyrings joke about Rexburg?? " I was asked to move from California... to Rexburg Idaho...." I was laughing so hard. I miss Idaho!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Wedding bells"

Before I get started on talking about one of the busiest weeks of my life I just need to say one thing: Mom and Danger be ready for when I get back and go bowling. Don´t forget I took not one, but TWO bowling classes in COLLEGE! Yeah... Talk about getting a real education right there. You may have your glory days for now but they are numbered :p Hahahah I love our family traditions so much :)
"Hey I just met you and this is crazy, but here's my number, baptize me maybe?"
So this week was off the wall busy. I don´t even know where to start. We had everything from baptismal interviews, interviews w/ Pres., and to top it all off... a wedding!! I guess I will start with the wedding. They are a couple who was referred to us from some members in the ward who are their neighbors and the referral family is awesome. It is a mom, a dad, and a son that is 11 years old. We taught them the first lesson my first week here in the area and they accepted the baptismal date and a wedding date. I honestly have no idea how we were so blessed with the wedding date because we had no idea how we were even going to help them with that until one of the other elders in our district called me and said there was a free wedding day this past Saturday. We told the family about it Thursday night and it shocked them a little bit, but we just helped to show them that is was a blessing that the date showed up at the time and that they really were ready to get married.
The actual wedding was wild. I have never really seen the whole civil part of a wedding and to me... it looks kinda like a mess, but that is just me. We had to get to the court house really early and there was a really big line and we thought,  "great there goes the rest of our day", but it turns out the mom in the family is pregnant and whammo! straight to the front of the line. People who say babies aren´t blessing are crazy! They filled out all the paperwork and then were told they had to be back at 3 o´clock for the actual wedding ceremony which also was so fun. They had a cake and some cool old guy playing acoustic love songs and it was just a good time. It was pretty interesting just being surrounded by tons (80 couples got married that day) of happy, in love couples and me just chillin there.... It is all good though. Now we just have to help them to get baptized... HOORAY! The only bummer is that... they didn´t go to church yesterday. Yep not even gonna talk about it....
Interviews with Pres. Gonzaga were also this week and that is always a good time. He really is one of my best friends. We just tell jokes for most of the interview and just laugh. Of course we have a spiritual par,t but it is nice to know that I have a real relationship with him not just president and missionary. We talked about what has changed with me during my mission and what I am going to be taking back with me to the U.S. that I learned here in Brasil. I wanna take the whole country with me, but I don´t think it will fit on the plane.... Lame sauce.
I hope you guys like the pictures I am sending. They are just of the wedding and the family. Sounds like you guys are just having a rough rough time back there in Utah without me... I don´t know how you guys survive with all these friends and parties and laughter. Someone has to do it right? I love you all so much and I loved the missionary opportunities you had during this past week. Be excited for General Conference this week and go out to eat somewhere delicious, deal? I love you!! Stay sweet....

Elder Big Deal