Friday, August 26, 2011

Alex is now working in the Office as an Assistant to the President. Here is an exert from an email explaining what his new duties are and here is an example of the news letter he is in charge of:

So basically, the main change is that on Mondays, instead of having p-day, we go into the office. The Zone Leaders send us all the numbers of their zones, and commentaries about how stuff is going, then we get that all together. Then we have lunch, then we come back and have a meeting with President Ribeiro about how everything is going, good things, bad things, concerns, all that stuff about all the mission of 150 missionaries. Then we take care of that stuff, make sure everything is going good. We call the Zone Leaders talk to them, and also on Mondays we make the mission newsletter, called the Bah-tché-zar.

Now for his weekly email:

A week ago, on Saturday we organized a ward activity in which we simulated the Plan of Salvation, we did the same activity in Cruz Alta, I don't know if I told you all about it.
We came back to the house of this one lady with whom we left the Book of Mormon, and she said, ´´You´re bible is really good´´ haha!
On Sunday we brought to church a lady named Gladys and her 2 kids. Gladys we found one day walking on the street. We saw a gate that led behind the house that was on the street to a different house behind it (this is common here in Brazil, basically on the same address, two houses, one in front, one in back, very weird). So we decided to go back there, we knocked, and talked to this lady. she came out, and said she was in the middle of cleaning, but that she would like us to come back later, so we did. The next week we came back, and found out that she had actually been baptized as a little 11 year old in Quarai like 25 years ago. We taught her and her daughter Kesse, her son is about 5 and is a bit crazy, like Boone, and we invited them to church. They came to church which was Stake conference, the Porto Alegre Temple President even came. They absolutely loved it, and basically Gladys decided she was going to be active in church. So that was a really cool experience. We will most likely baptize her daughter Kesse soon.

Also another weird experience- we visited an inactive guy who has no job, just stays at home, and basically reads the B
ook of Mormon a ton and does a ton of family history. He said that he guesses that he has read the Book of Mormon around 200 times. He reads it in like 7 days usually. And then when we taught him, we taught him about covenants, because even though he was doing all that stuff, he was still not keeping his covenants, so I shared a message with him about the Anti-nephi-lehites and about how they layed down and died to keep their covenant with God, he then quoted to me exactly how many had died and what happened afterward and all that stuff. Crazy. He has also done about 1000 names of family history or something.

Another guy that came to church on sunday was a guy named Antonio. He is from Peru, is now living in Chile, but was studying in Argentina, and is now studying in Brazil. He has been investigating the church for like 4 years or so. He is 23 and started learning Portugues 2 weeks ago when he got here. He came and showed up at church on his own. So we marked to teach him on Tuesday, and we did. He really likes the church a lot but hasn´t been baptized because he doesnt feel like he has really received a spiritual confirmation for himself. It is due mainly to the fact (I believe anyway) that he has not really searched and studied the Book of Mormon.

Two days ago we had a really good morning. We taught 2 good lessons. We were going to this apartment building of this guy I had done a contact with, Antonio, we arrived there, and there was a teenager in front of the building, we talked to him, ended up going in, teaching him and his dad, and then we went to our original contact, Antonio. He was really good, a college student, he already knew a lot of stuff. He is catholic, but as he said to us, only because of ´´tradition´´. He liked it a lot. His dad didn´t though. His dad came into the room towards the end. Basically the conversation went like this:
Him: Hey you guys are some religious people?
Me: Yes sir we are missionaries!
Him: We´re Catholic! And we don't go around annoying people! If you´ll excuse us, my son has to go to college right now and I´m leaving!
I gave Antonio a look and he gave that ´´yea my dad´s crazy´´ look, haha well, we had to leave, but we got Antonio´s phone number and we´ll go back later.

Then that night we went and did a few visits with President Ribeiro, that was pretty cool.
The first was this guy named Diego. We had left a Book of Mormon with his girlfriend, and we marked to come back. We came, and she wasnt there, but to our suprise, Diego was! We had never met him, nor heard of him. He was visiting from Recife, the northeast of Brazil. So we taught him with President. It was really good. He is a religious person, but a really cool guy. He thought it was very interesting.
Then we went and taught a guy named Juliano. I think he is the richest guy I have yet taught on the mission. We found him a few weeks ago knocking doors. He was in his mother -in- law's house, and it's a good thing we found him there, beause we would have not found him otherwise. He lives in this really big and fancy apartment building. To get in you have to go to the guard, give the name and apt number of the person you want to visit, and then he calls them to see if you can go in. Then you walk in and they have all these security cameras. No chance of knocking doors there. We went up to the 9th floor, and went in. He is a Radiologist, and his wife is a Dentist. Juliano´s sister is a member and a returned missionary that now lives in Canada, but he has never had missionaries at his house before! I couldn't believe it! So yea, it was a cool night. President Ribeiro liked it a lot.

Lately I've been studying some super interesting stuff. Like about how we have to become just like God to be saved. We really are in a journey of self-perfection.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Little Brothers, Prepare Well for Your Missions!

Weather is super crazy around here. It's supposed to be winter here, but half the days here are like, cloudless hot days, the other half are cloudy and rainy, like today.

So this last week Elder Albrechtsen and I had an awesome experience. President gave us this book called The Law of the Harvest to look through. And there was this section called The Book of Mormon Loan program, a proselyting technique, we both loved it, and decided to try it out.
So we got some used Books of Mormon, and went out to an apartment complex, knocking on everyone's door, presenting to them the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ, telling them we´d like to loan them a copy for a few days for them to read it and get to know it. Then we would come by in a few days and see how they liked it. We found some way cool people doing this. And it's awesome because it's one of the best ways possible to apply Presidente Benson's talk about the BOM when he says that the BOM is the great sieve to sort out the wheat from the tares. So true.
We come by after a few days. Those who read and liked it, we teach. Those who didn't read or didn't like it, we take the book back and give it to someone else.

The first night we did this, we found Maiara, a college student. She was quite interested in the book. We came back a few days later, and she said she had read a few things and liked it. We asked if we could come in and explain the book's real importance. She accepted. We taught her the whole Restoration. She really felt the spirit. She said, ´´I really feel that this is true!´´ We challeged her to read more of the BOM, she said, ´´Well of course I will!´´

We came back 2 days later, she had already read 80 pages! Thats like 15 chapters a day! She told us of the marvelous spirit she felt as she read and told us how she felt as she prayed. She loves the Book of Mormon, she told us she was going to read the whole thing. She will be baptized soon.

Little brothers, prepare well for your missions. It will be the best thing of your lives.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Big City

Me and Elder Albrechtsen!

View from our Apartment

Best purchase ever! I can not believe I found these!

So here's what's happened in the last week and a half.

On the first of the month we got the transfers, and I found out I´d be with Elder Gonzaga. I was way excited. He is awesome. I had already known him before.

So then the transfers happened, and so on Tuesday, I ended up with Elder Valdivia, us waiting for our companions to get here. He's a cool guy, way funny. Then at 7 we went to the bus station and got our companions, went home dropped off our stuff, and then we went to a visit we had marked with Bitto, a way cool guy. His wife is a pastor, but he doesnt like other churches, but really likes our visits.

Wednesday we had an awesome day of work. Elder Gonzaga is awesome. A guy with unexhaustable energy to do contacts with everybody and teach everybody.
Then the next day we headed to Santa maria for Zone Leader Conference, so we spent the whole night sleeping on the bus, and then got to Santa Maria at like 4 in the morning.

The counsel was really awesome, especially since I got to talk to Elder Tafoya ( who is in Cruz Alta) about how David, Rafael, Patricia, and all them are doing, that was something so gratifying, to hear how well they are doing. David is thinking about serving a mission, his mom and stepdad (who has a super firm testimony of the Book of Mormon) are going to get married and Baptized, Rafael bought a suit to go to church in - awesome stuff.
And super funny thing - apparently they (Patricia, Rafael, and that whole family) found the blog that mom makes from these emails, and they put it through Google translator, hahahaha. So they were reading it and found it funny how much I talked about them. Wow! Good stuff.

Anyway, then we travelled all night back home, and got back to Uruguaiana at 6:30 in the morning, just in time to wake up, haha. So we went home, took a shower, and started our personal study. Shortly after personal study, President Ribeiro called me, asked me how the trip went, I told him it was good, and he then told me we would have to come back and I was like, "why?" and he told me I would be Elder Albrechtsen's new companion here in Santa Maria.
I was exited but also kind of annoyed. I only spent a transfer and a week in Uruguaiana. But hey, I'm not in charge of this am I?
It's the second time President has put me with a companion I really liked, and then called me somewhere else a week later. Pois é.
I´m leaving behind some awesome investigators, but they´ll get baptized. One of our best is this guy named Jilnei. He is really good. He is over halfway done with the Book of Mormon right now, and he started like a month ago.

I´m exited about the new area. part of our area is right in the center of Santa Maria. Like right in the big city, pretty crazy, especially since in the rest of my mission I've been in relatively ´´rural´´ parts. We have been thinking a lot about how we can prosylyte effectively in big apartment buildings and stuff.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Transfers and Long Bus Rides

Unfortunately this letter is going to have to be quite quick. My p-day
is now going to normally be on Fridays, but this week its actually
going to be on Thursday, cuz friday we have a conference.

I got transferred again.
Here's the story:
This week on Tuesday night, Elder Gonzaga arrived, he is super awesome.
I've known him for a while, and he is a super awesome missionary, I was
way exited to be companions with him, so we worked Tuesday night and
Wednesday, and it was way awesome. Then we left Wednesday night for
Santa Maria for Zone leader conference there. It was an awesome
meeting thing we had, and then we went back. Unfortunately for us, in
Uruguaiana, the bus ride is 7 hours, and the bus only leaves at
midnight. So basically we got back to Uruguaiana in the morning, took
a shower, and started studying. After personal study was over,
Presidente Ribeiro called me and was like, "So did you guys travel
well?" I told him we did, and he then proceeded to tell me that we
would have to come back, and that I would be transferred. So we had to
come back to Santa Maria on Sunday. so I just got here last night, and
I am now in Santa Maria.

My new companion is Elder Albrechtsen. He is
from Glendora, California. It's gonna be sweet. I'm exited. Our area is
basically right in the middle of Santa Maria. In fact, the ward's name
is simply called, Santa Maria. Well I've got to go. I've got stuff to

Monday, August 1, 2011

Finally a Brazilian Companion Again

This week was a bit tough for us. Tons of appointments fell through. But we have some really really awesome investigators we are working with. We found this 18 year old guy named Brendo at his grandma´s house and he was way good! But unfortunately he doesn't live in our area, but we taught him the whole restoration, gave him a Book of Mormon, he said he would for sure be baptized when he gets an answer to his prayers, and then we passed his address to other Elders.

I have forgotten to say, but here, we have been living in 4 - four Americans: Me, Belnap, Elder Taylor (the same one that was with me in Quarai) and Elder Billings. This week was crazy because it was the last week of ´´the big group´´, the group of Elder Taylor, Elder Martini, Elder Marx, Elder Wiscomb, and a lot of other guys. It's been crazy. It's a huge group leaving, so the transfer has been crazy. Elder Belnap is going to Livramento to be a trainer, and Elder Gonzaga will be my new comp! Finally a Brazilian comp again! Haha. It was cool how we did the transfers. Me and Belnap got an email with all the transfers, printed it out, and then we gathered the whole zone together at the church, put our name tags in a bag, and then picked them out, and the person got to pick if they wanted to know their area, companion, or calling first, it was fun.

Anyways, Elder Gonzaga is way awesome. He is from Recife. He became district leader the same time I did. He was the other district leader in the zone. I'm way exited about it. Anyways, everyone keep having an awesome summer, and awesome trip, and an awesome life!