Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Pretty much my last email.........."


Weird.... This is pretty much the last time I am ever really going to be e-mailing you guys from here. Next P-day is going to be really really busy for me because I am going to..... Viçosa!! And then the next P-day is my last one where I will eat at President's house and most likely not even pass in the LAN house. I am planning on e-mailing you guys just really quickly while I am there so we can set up our Skype time and then a few things about the week that passed, but other than that....  era! 

I am super excited to go back to Viçosa and see everyone there and take a few more pictures of that beautiful city. It will be very interesting for me to go back there seeing as it has been pretty much a year since I left. So so excited. But before I forget about Skype.... I am planning on Skyping with just Mom and Dad. Not that I don´t want to see the rest of you, but I want it to be more of a surprise for when I see you in real life three days after the Skype call. We will probably just talk about plans for when I get back and a few other things as well. I hope that is okay with everyone. Oh! Mom, I do have the flag with me here. It is in great condition though and probably shoulda left it with you when I left.
    
This week was amazing. It rained a ton here, but it was still a blast. We taught tons of good lessons and have lots of people lined up to be baptized in these last two weeks. I am so excited. I will tell you their stories when they are baptized and everything, but it is going to be sweet! I also got to visit Boa Vista this past week and say good bye to everyone there. It was hard because I really loved that branch and the people there, but isn´t it amazing the blessing we have with Skype and FaceBook?? I can keep in contact with all of them still and help to keep them on Christ´s path while I am far away in the U.S. still. That just blows my mind. It musta been so hard for missionaries in the early days here to leave amazing places like Brasil, Italy, or wherever knowing that you would probably never see those people again. I am so grateful for the blessings of technology. "I love technology, but not as much as you you see.."
      

Also as a highlight.... We got to go kick it on the coast today!! Pres lets the missionaries who are leaving have a p day there to go and take picts and walk around.... Oh my heavens it was so pretty. Even though it was about to rain the whole time, we still got to get a few cool picts and even caught a little crab! It is weird because it is a whole side of Maceió that I don´t know. Tons of really nice apartment buildings and really fancy hotels. It was awesome and I hope you like the picts!
    
Well, I better get going. Mom, do you know how much time I have on Sunday to give my talk? I have been thinking all week about what I want to say and I am still just tossing ideas around. Just let me know how much time I can use. 
    
I am so grateful for the time I have had to e-mail you guys for the last two years... It wasn´t much and I know my e-mails were never those e-mails full of amazing spiritual messages or in-depth details about the hardships and the people that I have taught. I just never felt like I could express myself the way I wanted to though e-mails. I know that what I have learned out here as a missionary has been so life-changing and the understanding I have of the Gospel now  to me, is amazing. It just makes so much sense. Today while we were at the beach I was just sitting there looking at the ocean and all the stuff around and I caught myself thinking about how there is no way any of this is just for kicks and giggles. All of it is for our benefit, even the trails and hardships. All of it will be so worth it in the end. I am so happy I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am so happy I can have an eternal family through Heavenly Father's plan of HAPPINESS. And I am so happy I have had the chance to share the feelings of joy that I feel every day because of this Gospel with the people of Brasil. I will never be the same... and I am completely fine with that. I love you all and can´t wait to see you :) Stay sweet....

Elder Big Deal




Monday, April 22, 2013

"Even More Water........"



Hello family!

So before anyone asks, no there wasn´t another flood in the church this week. Thank heavens. But we did have another baptism and Friday it rained hard all day long and no one let us in. It was fun and miserable at the same time. It had been a long time since Maceió had had rain like we had last Friday and it was nice because I actually felt cold for once here haha. I just didn´t like walking around wet all day though.
    
The baptism this week was awesome. So if you guys all remember, a few weeks back we baptized a girl named Rafaela. On the day of her baptism she brought her mom and her little brother to watch and we ended up talking with them and sharing the message as well. Well the baptism we had on Saturday was her little brother! His name is Danilo and the kid is great. He has been coming to church with us for more then six weeks now, but couldn´t be baptized because he didn´t live in the area, but he wanted to get baptized so bad in Aeroclube that they ended up moving just to be in the boundaries! Talk about faith right? 

The other really cool thing is his mom. She is extremely strong in another church, but has recently fallen in love with the LDS church because of how much her kids have changed since they have been a part of it. She is so funny because yesterday after she came to church to watch the confirmation, we went to her house and talked about how she felt there. She said she loves it and that she knows she needs to get baptized as well, but she just can´t bring herself to do it. She wants to be baptized so bad, we see it every time we talk with her, but she just doesn´t know how to make the change. Her kids will help though and I fully believe she will be baptized before I peace out.
   
I am trying to think of what else happened this week... Yesterday there were TONS of these huge ants flying around our area called Tanajuras. They look like flying black widows, seriously. I need to get a pic of one to show you guys and I hear that it is common to eat them here, so I will for sure give that a try if I have the chance.
   
So I really need you guys to respond to this question, because I don´t remember what you guys brought back with you from your missions. Should I bring back my planners and everything or what did you guys do? Mom, I was thinking about leaving behind all but one of my short-sleeved shirts for some of the members here and possible even my indoor shoes. Is there a problem with that?? Just let me know what I should leave behind and bring with me.
   
I love you all and I hope you like the picture. It has Rafaela (with glasses), Danilo, and her mom Ana. Have a great week and please stay away from Boston or North Korea. That is all I seem to be hearing about about the U.S. now a days... 

Wild. Stay sweet!!


Elder Big Deal 

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Wayyy Too Much Water"


Hello family!!


Welp, I am still here in Brasil just chuggin along! Hahaha. We were very busy this week with transfers, zone meeting and a district leader training meeting all in the same week. All three meetings went over well and I always like giving a zone meeting right after transfers. Everyone just
seems to be excited and ready to go out and work. We have a really great zone this transfer and I am excited to work with these missionaries. They are all pretty young. We have four companionships training, and there is plenty we can teach them during this transfer. It looks like we are going
to be doing lots of divisions with them as well, so it will be great to get to know and help these greenies.
   

Our normal work week in the area was great. We had a baptism of a young man named Vitor. He is pretty much the man and showed up to church last month in a shirt and tie with some of the other members of the ward and we didn´t even notice he was a visitor! He lives on a road here called, "Road of the Mormons" and it is the road in are area that has the highest amount of members. It is so awesome because the whole road is always just looking to help in missionary work and they just end up taking people to church once or twice and then give the reference to us and we go there and teach them. Talk about awesome way to find new people right?
The picture is of his baptism and you will notice his mom there with him. We are working with her as well but she is struggling to go to church and also her husband doesn´t like us talking to her too much. We actually talked to him last night and he seemed really open with us so we are planning on helping him out as well.

There was one other interesting thing that happened as well this week..... OUR CHURCH FLOODED!  Yep, Sunday morning at like... 6:35 the bishop called and told us to get to the church a.s.a.p and help drain the water. We got there and there were tons of other guys already there in suits and ties draining the water. It looked pretty funny. The problem was that one of the water boxes didn´t stop when it reached it´s limit and just kept getting more and more water until it over flowed and then flooded the roof of the church. One cool thing though is that there was basically no damage at all and we were able to clean it all up before the meetings started. It was a good time and something I  won´t forget for sure.

That is it. I love and miss you all..... a lot. oh so so so much and I am just workin my way home. Mom, don´t stress, well maybe you should, but I really am eating a lot and I think I am eating more healthily than I have even eaten in my whole life. I honestly have no idea why I am so skinny
still. It has to be just from walking in the Sun so much. I guess I am just gonna have to sit down and play some Halo 4 when I get back :) Tchau gente!!!

Elder Big Flood

Monday, April 8, 2013

"The Last Transfer"


Hello to my family that is both neat and great. From the e-mails that I received this week it looks like no one liked my "Rick Roll´d" joke besides Ryley... and that is why she is my favorite! Yep... I said it. I am glad you all had a nice relaxed Conference weekend and hope you all enjoyed the talks as much as I did. I was lucky enough to watch them in English again with all my American buddies here and we had a good time. But seeing the Conference Center everyone just looked at me and said stuff like, "You´ll be there in 5 weeks!" or "Wow, I bet you're trunky now!" Hahaha thanks guys. It is kind of a weird feeling though, because as of today I am in my last transfer and I am officially the missionary with the most time in the mission. I even have more time than Pres. Gonzaga! I am happy that I will be ending my mission here in Aeroclube with Rodrigues and I am so grateful I have a companion that will work hard with me till the end. It is going to be a blast of a last transfer here.
   
So on to Conference!! The talks were once again amazing and after every session I felt so spiritually renewed and ready to keep going. It was perfect. I am like the rest of you in having a hard time  deciding my favorite talk of Conference, but in my point of view the themes seemed to be about families and missionary work... the two things I love the most! ( I am sure they woulda talked about T-bell too, but it just wasn´t the place or time.) 

President Monson's talk on obedience was so good and his mannerisms were hilarious. He has the perfect balance of spirituality and humor. Elder L. Tom Perry, and Elder Bednar both laid down the law that the rules and commandments of the Church aren´t made by man, but of God, and they are not to be changed. Mom, I agree with you that this conference was more for the actual active members in the church, than any other group. I agree that our views need to be in line with the views of the church and that through those views we receive eternal joy, not just mere pleasure or short moments of happiness. 

All in all, I loved all the talks and for sure thought that the Conference Center was going to do the wave after Elder Nelson's talk! That would be so rad! Oh and the temple in Rio de Janeiro was quite a nice blessing as well.... One more on the list to visit :)
   
Ry, I hope you have an awesome birthday this year and you do something fun with all your friends before you peace out. I will be sure to celebrate for you here.... maybe I will go to the Rodizo for you.... Mmmmmmm. Trent, I would love to see pics of the nice place in Cali if you could send some over my way. It sounds like you have a pretty sweet gig going on down there. I don´t know what else to say..... I LOVE YOU ALL!!!  Stay sweet....

Elder Big Old Deal

"Fail..........."


So if you haven´t seen the first e-mail I sent today... GO TO THAT ONE FIRST! If you already have........ HAPPY APRIL FOOL´S!!! HAHAHAHA (I hope) By the looks of it though it looks like it shows the video in the e-mail so it totally takes away all of the fun that I was planning on.... I have legit been planning that joke since November and I was quite surprised that no one April fooled me yet....But I hope you guys liked it if it all worked out, but if not.... Tudo bem.
   
This week really wasn´t that exciting though work-wise. I guess the theme of the week would be gospel discussions. It seems like we met and talked with a lot of people who are really strong in other faiths and instead of the usual, talk politely and then move on, or the ever worse "bible bash", we were invited into the houses and we had really, deep, gospel talks with these people. It was a blast because it is so neat for me to see how much I have learned since I have been out here. My knowledge of scriptures, stories, and all that jazz has grown so much and I love it. One thing I do regret though is that I didn´t spend a lot of time actually memorizing the scriptures that I use. I know Mom, you told me to do this way back in the start but I fail :( Hahahah. I can tell you which books the scripts or stories are in, but to actually say it word for word in Portuguese... I am lost. I still have time though so I will change that!
    
Mom, Easter here is pretty much just these huge chocolate eggs that are amazingly delicious, but super expensive and everyone going to church, which is good..... if it was with us! Haha. We had a great meeting yesterday in church about the Atonement and it just got me more and more excited for General Conference. I can´t believe it is already this week! Have you even thought about how awesome of an opportunity we have to hear from living prophets and apostles every six months?? It is incredible. I do really have to peace out though so I will talk to you all next week!! I wanna hear from all of you about your favorite talks deal?! DEAL!!! I love you all!

Elder Rick Roll´d