Sunday, October 19, 2014

Letter #80

This week was a good week.  We were finally able to get one of our investigators to go to church this week, and another one we were able to get to pray for the first time.

The thing about missionary work is that you need to be creative and follow the Spirit.  We are teaching a family, José Mauro, Rosângela, and their three kids, and are seeing some great progress. Rosângela has been going to church quite a bit, but we're trying to help José get a little bit more involved and committed.  He started to read in the Book of Mormon and was understanding well, but we were having a hard time getting him to pray.

Yesterday night we went to visit them and we had a really good lesson to help José understand why we always invited him to pray.  He ended up giving all the same excuses and thought that he could get us to pray if he just resisted enough.  He thought he had us when I said to him, "Well, José, me, Elder Souza, and Rosângela have already said a lot of prayers here, and it's your turn.  I guess if you don't want to say the prayer, we're just gonna have to leave without saying one with you guys tonight." Elder Souza caught my drift and started to put his things in his bag.  We grabbed our bags, shook their hands and started making our way out the door.  He said to us, "Wait, you can't do that, we have to end with a prayer."  He had gotten so used to having a prayers that it seemed unnatural if we didn't say one.  We were just stepping out of the front door when he said, "Alright all say the prayer."  Gotcha!  He said a great prayer and in the future I'm sure he'll say many more.

We've been having to deal with some troubles with some of the companionships in our zone.  It's been a little bit rough.  I had to call out a missionary that lives in our house for being disobedient and since then he has been doing everything possible to avoid me.  I think it's the first time in my life that I've been the victim of a shun.  It's kind of weird, because some days it's funny the lengths that he'll go to to avoid me and other days I just feel bad because he's ended up isolating himself from everyone else.  I can tell that he's not happy, but I'm not really sure if I can do anything since he doesn't want anything to do with me or my companion.  Only time will tell.

It's super hot here and I think it's only going to get worse.  This week was 110 degrees, and we're just starting up Spring.  I may come home looking like one of Dad's dehydrated peppers.  But some chilly Utah weather will do me some good.

Well, I love you all a bunch,
Elder Jack Vawdrey

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Letter #79

So we had a pretty solid week this week.  We had six people at church this Sunday, which was super exciting to see.  By the end of the day we were pretty tired out, so it's nice to have a P-day now.

The other night we did a church tour with a couple that we are teaching that was really spiritual.  There names are Victor and Carol.  Victor is the the brother of a recent-convert named Evelim, and she was super excited when we started teaching her brother.  Victor and Carol talk a lot about getting married, but we're not quite sure yet if that just means move out and live together or actually get married.  I think we're gonna have to clarify things a bit for them.

But the tour of the church with them was super great, the Spirit was super strong.  I've always liked giving tours of the church because everything seems to come together well.  You show the people the cabinet with all the white jumpsuits, let them try one on, and then sneakily open up the baptismal font.  And then you push them in!  Just kidding, baptism is a sacred ordinance.

One the great challenges of the mission is teaching the lesson about the Restoration with crazy old ladies.  The other day we taught a mother, daughter and future son-in-law the first lesson and Cleide, this 75-year-old lady commented on every single point that we said.  She came to church this Sunday and was super funny.  During Sunday School she did the same thing, making comments about everything we said.  The Sunday School teacher had a baby recently, so we've been teaching Sunday School to the investigators, recent converts and returning members.

I feel a little bit bolder every day.  Yesterday we found a man sitting in front of his house on a little bench.  I'm not sure if it's because we had a long day and I want to keep things simple, or if it was the Spirit, but I went up to him and said, "Hey, we're representatives of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ told us to come talk with you, sir."  He laughed and let us go in his house to teach.  That was pretty cool.  

We had a zone conference with President Brum this week.  He came here to Araraquara to talk with us about what defines a successful missionary.  It helped me a lot, because I am sometimes somewhat of a perfectionist and get stressed out.  Perfeccionism is not a virtue, it just makes you stress.

I'm getting everything worked out for college, Mom.  Wrote my essays and I'm going to request the transcript.  Thanks for all your help!



Letter #78

So I kind of weirded out today when we were coming to send email.  My companion told me that in my last interview with President Brum that he's gonna ask me what my goals are for when I get home, which made me freak out a bit.  I have less that four months left before I get home, and it's going by ridiculously fast.  Thankfully I have Mom that's on top of things and getting everything ready for school and such.  

So I have a favor to ask, probably more specifically towards Dad, Mom, Addie, and Ellie.  Since I'll be coming home in January, I'll have a good deal of time at home to work to save up for college, but to earn money, I will probably need a job.  If you guys to keep your ears open for something pretty steady that I could do full-time, that would be sick.  It would be pretty awesome too if you looked into jobs where I could use Portuguese, either in Utah or California, becuase I would probably make more money that way.  

We had some super cool experiences this week, that I have duely registered in my journal and recordings on the cell phone, so this week I'll have to update you later on.  Mom, I'll have those essays ready and in next week.  I looked at the BYU application, and all that is left is a high school counselor thing, my essays, and the transcripts from USC.  If you need anything really quickly, you can give the mission a call.

Much love,


Letter #77

Dear Family,

This week was super good, we got a lot of good work done.  Taught a ton of people and are developing our relationships with our investigators.

I know that my e-mails aren't too poetic; I think I'll have better perspective about my mission after having finished, so for now I'm doing the very best that I can to fill every moment and keep everything recorded.  Unfortunately the journal that Ellie tried to send never showed up, some mailman somewhere in Porto Alegre probably got me mixed up with some German guy named Johann Heinrich Von Drake, or something like that.  There are actually quite a few Germans in Southern Brazil, so if you make a visit down there, you'll see a bunch of blondies.

One day y'all will have to come to Brazil with me.  And we can visit a small city call Holambra, which is a mixture between the words "Holland and Brazil".  It's a little Dutch town not too far from here.  Who would have known?

Love you all so much,