Monday, January 31, 2011

More Baptisms

This week was a tough week in a lot of respects. Last week we found a lot of news, this week we had to cut a lot of them, quite frustrating. Though we are teaching an Uruguayan couple that is really cool. They speak more Spanish than Portugues, and can't even read Portugues, so I dug up an old Spanish Book of Mormon, and even wrote a little testimony in Spanish to give to them. They are really good, liking the lessons a lot. On Saturday I baptized a kid named Grigor. The guys who are now in my old area baptized two of the people Elder Martini and I were teaching, and this kid, Grigor, chose me to baptize him. This kid Grigor is going to be the prophet someday. His mom is inactive, and he has been going to church for the past 3 months alone. He has insanely good questions that many adults around here aren't capable of making.
That's about it for this week, I've got to go.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"I don't remember the word in English"

"Today, on Tuesday we had Zone meeting over in Livramento, and then afterward I did a division (that's what we call it here, I don't remember the word in English, splits, exchanges, I don't know, but we switched companions for a day) with Elder Muller, one of the Zone Leaders. It was pretty sweet, I learned a lot of cool stuff, then that night we got the call that we would be having interviews with Presidente Ribeiro the next morning (by the way Dad, things have just recently changed, Zone Conference and interviews are not something that happen every transfer now - more like every 2 transfers or so.) So, we had our interviews there in Livramento, and then Presidente Ribeiro drove Elder Cerqueira and I back to Quarai (but not before taking us out to a really nice lunch, hehe), so that he could do interviews with Elder Taylor and Elder Matoso, the other 2 guys in my old area. It was sweet to have so much time to talk to President. He is a super awesome guy. He knows a TON about the scriptures. His job before was as some high leader for the church educational system. Also cool about him, is that his mission was the Porto Alegre mission, back when it was all of Rio grande do sul, so he served in Santa Maria and stuff as a regular missionary. Pretty awesome.

This week we worked super hard to find more new investigators, talking with everyone, doing a bajillion contacts a day.

Also, about my new companion Elder Cerqueira:
I dont know what I've already told you about him. He's from Salvador, Bahia the northeast of Brazil. He joined the church when he was 18.
He has 3 tattoos, and a few scars from knives and bullets.
He´s a pretty cool guy.

Yesterday I gave a talk I did not know I was going to give.
A local radio host who is a member gave the prayer in sacrament meeting and it sounded like the radio.
We burned a bunch of saints for an investigator in her front yard.

Anyway, being a missionary is awesome, keep working hard, do your best, be good, feast upon your scriptures."

Note from Mom: I have requested more information on this "burning of saints". I'm sure it is not as bad as it sounds!

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Mr. John is a Very Good Whatchemaker"

"Being District leader it turns out, can make you very busy.
Tuesday we left for Livramento. It was a super crazy trip because at the same time, the two new guys, Elder Taylor and Elder Matoso were arriving, so I had to meet up with them in the Livramento bus stop, and quickly give them the keys, and a map to the house.
Then we slept on the ground in Elder Gonzaga and Elder Wilsons house. Elder Gonzaga is a way awesome guy, he just got made District leader in Livramento. There, I got like 1 hour of sleep, and just got eaten up my mosquitos. Then we left at like 5 in the morning to go to the the Leadership counsel, me, Elder Gonzaga, and the Zone leaders, Elder Harris, and Elder Muller. The counsel was way awesome, I learned some sweet stuff, and met some awesome people, all the leaders of the mission. Then we returned home, Gonzaga and I got back at his apartment at like 1 in the morning. He didn't have the key, he left it with our companions, so we got in the building thanks to a member, and then sat there ringing the doorbell for like a half hour. Somehow, our companions did not wake up and hear. So we went and slept in our suits in the lobby of the building until 5:30, then got up, and finally woke up our companions. Then we finally took the bus back to Quarai, and I did a split with Elder Taylor to show him my old area a bit.
My new companion Elder Cerqueira is a cool guy. He is from Salvador Bahia.

Love you all!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Well today has been crazy, but I´ll get to that in a bit, here's what happened this week.

Right now in the Livro de Mormon, I'm in 3 Néfi, Novo Testamento, I'm on 1 John.
Also, this week I studied Jacob 5 hardcore, it was pretty awesome, I learned some really cool things that I did not know.

The other day we were teaching this guy named Siro who apparently almost got baptized a long time ago. He has some of the craziest beliefs.

One interesting thing about living in another language: There are a lot of phrases or words, that don't really have a good translation for English, and it's the same thing vice versa. For example, they don't really have a word for Boring or Awkward.

Then one day I got a pineapple, cut off the top and cut out the inside, made pineapple juice, and then we drank pineapple juice, lemonade, and guarana out of the pineapple using a bomba (the big metal straws they use around here for chimarrão.

On the 7th I hit the 6 month mark. Wow those 6 months have gone by fast.
That morning on the 7th the Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on our door. hahaha. They were quite surprised when the Mormon Missionaries answered the door. hehehehehehe
We didn't bible bash or anything. We talked, presented our knowledge and beliefs.

The other day I pinned a fly down on its leg.
Fasting is really hard here. Imagine this: going without water for 24 hours walking around all day during the summer in Fresno. It's pretty close to that.

My last day with Elder Martini was good.
We taught 2 specifically good lessons. One was this guy whose mom had just died It was super awesome to be able to help him out. We taught him the Plan of Salvation. The other was this other lady who we had taught for a bit like 6 weeks ago, but then her mom came to visit, and her mom doesn't like missionaries, so we couldnt visit. Finally she left, and we taught a way awesome lesson.

Anyway, the transfer thing.

Yesterday Elder Martini and Elder Marx left, and so just me and Elder Cerqueira remained, not knowing who our new companions would be, but knowing that we would have to go to Santa Maria to pick them up. The Secretaries were very vague with us at first.

We had found out a few days ago that Cerqueira and I would have to leave for Santa Maria, and that I wouldn't return until Wednesday. I could only think of one reason that I would stay that long, that I would become a Trainer. Plus I had been thinking for a while due to various things that I would end up training.
Anyway, after our companions had left, Cerqueira (by the way, he has the same time as me on the mission, 6 months, I would have met him in the CTM if I had gone directly there) and I went to my area to do some stuff. We were talking and he said, ´´Dude I just want to get a really good companion right now to help me out, so we can work really hard and really make a difference here.´´

Today, I got off the phone with the Executive Secretary, having been told about all that happened in the transfer, and I said to Cerquera, ´´hey remember what you said about your future companion?´´ He said yes, and I then replied ´´Well, here I am!´´ He didn't believe it at all, it was way funny. Then I told him how I had been the one transferred, not him, so I took Elder Marx's spot, so I'm in the same house, in the same city, I just switched areas, and then I told him how two other Elders were being sent to my old area, an Elder Taylor and Elder Matoso. Elder Taylor has about a year and a half and Matoso is pretty new I think. Anyway, at this point, Elder Cerqeuira honestly still wasn't believing me, and then I told him, `Well, you think this is all super crazy right? Well I haven't even told you the craziest part yet. Are you ready?´´ He said he was. And so I told him, ´´I am the new District Leader´´ and boy did he not believe still. But thankfully now he does. And so it came to pass that I've been made district leader with only 6 months on the mission. Yea. For everyone not Dad, district leader means you are in charge of all the missionaries in the district. In our case, its only us four in Quarai, but usually districts are more people. For example, there are 10 people in the district in Livramento. District Leader reports to the Zone leaders, who reports to the Assistants. I'm sure Dad can tell you all about that. So, anyway. Today was crazy. But I'm quite exited. Also, Elder Martini went to Uruguayana, a big city on the border of Argentina, the City where Elder Black is right now, and so now all of my companions so far will have served in Uruguayana because Cerquera started there. And Elder Marx, I'm not completely sure, I'll find out tomorrow, but I'm almost positive he went somewhere to be Zone Leader.
But anyway, the reason I will have to go to Santa Maria now was one that I did not forsee, as I will not be training. There is the Leadership counsel there that happens every little bit. It is a counsel President Ribeiro and his Assistants have with the District Leaders and Zone Leaders, so that should be pretty awesome."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Eu vou escrever isto, e depois vocês vão traduzir, e depois perceber que não significa nada.

Translation via google: (I will write this and you will translate it and find out it means nothing)

It's always super awesome when we get investigators that actually read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Around here especially, it is tough to find people who really undertand the great importance of it. But those who really read, and really pray, really get answers. It is always the coolest thing ever to return to someone's house and ask them if they read, and have them respond excitedly.
We are currently teaching two daughters of an inactive lady, and they are like this. Contrary to most of the people around here, they are really smart. When we ask people what they remember from the reading of 3 Nephi 11 for example (if they did it) people usually respond 创derrrrrrrrrrrrr.... batismo? homem do ceu?创 But when we asked this girl, she basically gave us an entire summary. It was awesome. She totally understood it.
The transfer is coming up and I will be suprised out of my face if me or Martini are'nt transferred.
Also, Happy New Years everyone!
One funny thing, a difference of the culture, is that you can call someone a gordinho here, which basically means a fatty. It makes sense. In our culture, we identify people as that tall guy or that black guy and all that stuff, but saying that fat guy isn't really acceptable. Why shouldnt it be? Haha
This year has gone by way fast. I can't believe that I was a missionary for half the year. Crazy. In one week I will have 6 months already, 1/4th the time. I don't know how it is going by so stinking fast!