Monday, March 24, 2014

Week #52

Dear Family,

We had a really good week this week.  We are teaching a ton and the Lord is blessing us a ton.  Ana Paula is progressing a lot, and we were able to get in contact with Marcelo again.

To be honest, I don't really know what to write. A lot of small miracles have been happening, but it's pretty much the same thing every day.  I need to be more grateful, because we really are being blessed, but in some ways I just feel kind of bored.  I need to find some fire to make things more interesting, because I don't want to get caught in a slump.  I think another thing that could help would be really focusing in on the necessities of the people.  Because teaching the same principles in the same way over and over again can get really annoying. But really teaching to the needs of the people mixes things up and makes the work more fulfilling.  I've got some work to do.

Thanks for your letters and the pictures.  I hope that things are going well with all of you.  I think about y'all every day, and I love you all.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Week #51

Super dynamite week!  We are having a ton of success, and I am loving the work.

But first of all, got to throw out a story about a super tense situation that we had the other day.  So we had this family that heard the first message about the Restoration two weeks ago, and this week we went back to follow up with them.  Oh man, super tense.  We showed up and they had watched some anti-Mormon video on YouTube and were under the impression that we were straight up devil worshippers.  This day I was on an exchange with an elder that has one-transfer under his belt, and he was up and ready to just throw the gospel down the throat of these people.  I was able to calm him down enough that we could say a prayer, and then we started to answer some of their questions.  The greeny ardor of this elder was a sight to behold.  It seemed like things were starting to take a turn for the worse, becaus it was super hard for me to get a word in edge-wise, and my companion seemed to be becoming more and more angry.  It came to the point that I had to pull him out of the house for a minute while they went to get the video that they had watched.  I was able to calm him down and we went back in.  With a bit more patience and meekness we answered their questions.  Still don't want anything to do with us, but at least we increased their understanding.

So Jánder and Anna Paula quit drinking.  Our fast worked!  Anna Paula watched a baptism and it is pretty much certain that she is going to get baptized.  Super great!

I love you all and hope you are well!  Sorry my letter is a little bit short!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week #50

Dear Family,

We had a boss week this week.  We were able to teach a lot of people and reach out to new people that really needed the gospel.  It's easy to see that the Lord's hand is in the work and he really does want us to be successful.  I think the greatest challenge is going to be becoming more humble every day and not getting lost in numbers.  But up until this point things seem to be going our way.

So we've been teaching this family lately and it seems to be going extremely well.  Jánder, the husband, is a less-active member that hasn't gone to church in a very long time, and Anna Paula, his wife, is loving the lessons that we are teaching.  They were a referral from Jánder's cousin who is a bishop in another ward not too far from here.  Plus, they have a super cute little son, Koão that is super funny.  Like I said, Anna Paula is loving our messages.  She reads everything that we leave with her and has been able to overcome some serious depression problems as a result of it.  I got really happy the other day when we passed her on the street and she introduced us to her mother like this:
"Mom, these are the missionaries.  They're sharing the gospel with people, just like Koão is going to do after he gets baptized."  She doesn't seem to have any doubts that she is going to be baptized.

Our only struggle with them seems to be some of Jánders apprehensions.  It's looking he is a bit hesitant to return to church so quickly, and today when we meet with them we're going to try and figure out why.  I'm super excited.

Thanks for your letters, and I love you all.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Week #49

Dear Fams,

We had a really good week this week.  Let me just preface the letter with that statement.  Things are going really well and I'm really happy with the growth that I'm making as a missionary.  

Probably the best part of the week happened yesterday.  Do y'all remember that story that I told you about that 12-year-old recent convert that hated my guts?  I was able to convince him that I don't suck so much.  He came to church yesterday and then he and his twin brother spent the day visiting some investigators with us.  I think probably the biggest reason why he doesn't hate me is because he didn't really have any other options when Elder Rock left.  But now we're developing a sincere friendship and I am beginning to notice how intelligent the two of them really are.  We had a lesson with them about the Restoration yesterday and they knew it all.  Super proud of them, and it just goes to show how good of a teacher Elder Rock was with them.  Pretty pumped about that.

Along with that, we also found some really good families to teach this week, which I am super stoked about.  And the three families with the greatest potential all have some sort of family member in the church, two of them being spouses.  It's going to be super legit!  Salvation!

I've been working on my teaching this week, because I realized that I have a lot to improve on still, but Elder Woolstenhulme and I are really developing together.  

Lots of little miracles everyday, so I don't really know which ones to tell you.  Every lesson that we have is a miracle, I love it.  I love it when people say that we make things clearer for them and that what we teach just makes sense.  Boss mode.

Something that I've noticed here in Brazil is that a lot of people have spiritual dreams.  I swear every other person that we teach tells us about a dream that they had about their future or about the gospel; it's actually pretty cool.  Sister Renata really opened up to us the other day and told us about a dream that she had.  That lesson with here seems to be the most focused that she has ever been in a discussion with the missionaries.  I think Mom would love Renata, if it were possible to overcome the language barrier.  
Well, that's my beef.  See ya.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Week #48

Why hello, butterbuckets.  I have an update for you from this past week.

We had an exceptionally good week this week.  We taught more lessons in one week than we ever had before, and they weren't just lessons for the numbers, either.  They were dedicated  to real people and their real needs.  It was the best!  It's is really nice to see our numbers improving, but I don't want to get caught up in the numbers and forget the people, so I've adopted a new practice.  Every night, after we finalize our numbers, I take a few moments to myself and try to remember a little bit about every one of the lessons that we taught.  Not only are we putting people behind our goals but we're also putting them behind our results as well.  So far it has made a big difference, and I can feel my love growing for the people.

We have been working quite a bit with one less-active sister, Maria Selma, who really loves our messages.  It has been a super long time since she went to church, but she has a sincere desire to return.  The first time that we met with her she told us that she misses the feelings of peace that she felt when she was going to church.  She seems to be making a lot of progress in her understanding, and it seems to be passing on to her grandchildren as well.  Little Artur, Anna Julia and Eduardo said prayers with us the other day, which was super presh-sauce.  I think if we can bring her back into the church it is going to lead all of her family to return as well.

So, I've got some sad news.  Elder Rock was transferred this week.  We found out Friday night and he was super sad to be going.  He has been in this area for seven and a half months and has grown a real friendship with the people here.  I was sad to see him go as well.  We had a little farewall party at the church yesterday night, which was pretty boss.  That is one thing that I love about Brazil that would never happen in the States.  Everyone put together a last minute farewell for Elder Rock, brought cake and had short gratitude testimonies for the work that he has done.  It was super spiritual; the second time on my mission where I shed tears.  It was really good, and it helped Elder Rock to feel a lot better about leaving.

So my companion now is Elder A Woolestenhulme.  Couple things about him.  First, I would like you to notice that I didn't write A (period) Woolstenhulme, but rather A Woolestenhulme.  That is because it is not an initial, it is his name.  Second of all, that is going to be pretty hard for anyone to say here.  But he's pretty boss, he's from Idaho and has a little over a year of mission time.  I'm really excited to be his companion for this upcoming transfer.

It was good to hear from all of you, and I hope that you are having a fantastic week.  Keep up the good work; I can always feel your love when I read your letters.  


Elder Vawdrey