Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Letter #84

Dearest ones,
We just got back from a Brazilian barbecue restaurant and it was super good.  We weighed ourselves before and after and I gained a solid 3.5 pounds.  Lots of meat, it was great.  But you just need to be careful, apparently when Brazilians want to be cool they mix weird foods with strawberries.  I went and tried a certain dish, which I thought would be dessert, because it had strawberries, but it was strawberries with lobster sauce.  It reminded me of the time we went to that Dutch Christmas at Noah's and all the foods looked like desserts but everything had fish or eggs in it.  Dirty Dutchmen.

Thanks so much for all of your letters.  It's always great to hear from you and everything that's going on.  It's weird to think that I'm going to turn 21 next week.  I'm getting old, just like Dad always says.  Dad doesn't even look old, he looks the same as he did ten years ago.  Mom hasn't really changed too much, either.

Thanks for sending my pictures of Penny.  I'm ready to meet her.  But all in due time.

I've been having a great time with my companion.  He's from Curitiba and he keeps telling me that I need to go visit him after the mission.  We'll just have to wait and see.  I would like to come back to Brazil at the end of July to see 4 couples that I taught get sealed in the temple, but we'll see how things go.

This week was good.  We are working in the office, but not too much.  We do our studies here in the morning, eat lunch at the mall or a local restaurant, and then making our way to our area.  When President Brum needs something, we do it, but other than that, it's pretty chill here.  Little by little me and Elder Zolet are figuring it out.

Last week we had a meeting with all of the zone leaders in the mission and me and Elder Zolet gave a training that I think President Brum really liked.  It was a lot of fun, I like to give trainings because it's like an adrenaline rush of the Spirit.

Yesterday night I was coming from our area and Elder Zolet and I started talking about what marriage is gonna be like.  Weird stuff.  I told him about my plans to have 12 kids.  It's gonna be awesome.

Love you all much,

Letter #83

Dear Family,
Things are going well here.  It's kind of ridiculous how fast time is passing.  Ya gotta be alert.  I kind of feel like my life is a game of Fruit Ninja, and the fruit is the minutes of the day.  I feel like every minute is being thrown my way and I need to slice it like a sword with great accuracy.  If I don't it falls to the ground and becomes useless.  And with every minute the fruit starts flying faster and faster.  

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go play some Fruit Ninja.

We had a good week.  Elder Madri and Elder Baker, the other two assistents, went on exchanges in Araraquara, so I chilled here with my companion, Elder Zolet.  It was pretty chill, I was teaching him how to use Excel.  I went nuts on Excel this week, grabbing a bunch of numbers and analyzing and comparing and doing averages and percentages.  It's funny how doing math helps to clear up the mind a bit.  Rarely have I had to use the math side of my brain on the mish, so it was nice.

Today is P-day, but we still taught a short English class.  English is hard.  I'm forgetting a few things, but little by little I'll remember stuff.

We're gonna have a baptism today.  It was pretty cool, we showed up in the area and there was already a girl ready to be baptized.  Her name is Kenia and she's going to get baptized today.

I've learned a new principle.  It changed my life.  I learned that the way that you start a project or activity with greatly influence the way that you end it.  If you start off playing well, you're more likely to end well.  If you wake up and are already laughing and smiling, it's more likely that you'll be laughing and smiling throughout the day.  If you pray in the morning, you'll have the Spirit sooner.  If you start off unorganized, you'll probably end unorganized.

So if you have a hard time with life, wake up in the morning and smile at yourself in the mirror for a minute straight.  You'll feel more optimistic about the day.  Elder Zolet is super happy and optimistic, that's how I learned this new lesson.

It's been a while since I've sent pictures.  Sorry.  Here's a free sample.  

I'm gonna be 21 soon.  Whoa.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Letter #82

Dear Family,
This week has been good.  We had some solids lessons, marked a baptismal date, and made a few people cry.  In a good way.  

Working in the office here is making me remember a bit about how it was in the office in Tallahassee.  A lot of the principles that I learned there are going to be applicable here.  We need to be organized and focused with the time that we have here in the office so that we can finish all of our necessary tasks.  Afterwards, it's time to do the best work of all: TEACH!  Being a missionary has really fortified my desire to be a college professor, because I absolutely love studying, writing, and teaching.  But not just teaching for the sake of teaching.  Teaching to reach an end.  To make people better.  It is a way that I can fulfill one of the counsels in my patriarchal blessing that says that I will be able to influence and bless the lives of others witht the knowledge God has given me.  I'm gonna do my best to learn as much as I can so that I can help others.  Learning is my passion.

Elder Zolet is my new companion, but I unfortunately didn't get to work with him this week.  There are four assistents here in the office, so we did an exchange for the entire week.  I stayed here in the office withe Elder Baker while Elder Zolet went with Elder Madri to help some desperate missionaries in Franca.  Kind of a bummer that I wasn't able to go, but I'm sure that Elder Zolet was able to help out the missionaries in the way that they needed it.

We had a great lesson yesterday.  Like I said, we made a few people cry.  We went to teach one of Elder Baker's investigators named Flávio, who was desirous to learn more but was having a hard to understanding what the missionaries were teaching.  But he was moving forward with faith with the hope that he would soon understand God's plan for him.  We were able to teach him about the Plan of Salvation yesterday and it finally clicked.  After reading Alma 16:16-17, it was amazing to see how well he understood when he said, "My very next prayer, I'm gonna ask God this question: 'Am I the lost sheep?'"  He showed a lot of humility as he understood that perhaps he was lost in need of finding, and that Christ had a plan to bring him back into the fold.  When his wife came back from dropping off the daughters the two prayed with us, both cried, and Flávio stood up and starting reciting back to his wife all that he had learned that day with us and how much it had helped him.  It was great.



Letter #81

So this will probably be the last time that you will hear from me...on Mondays that is.  My new P-day is Saturday.  I'm going to be serving my last two transfers in the mission office.  I'll keep you updated.  I'm going to stop drinking soda so that I don't get fat sitting at the computer.

My new companion is Elder Zolet.  From what I can tell he is super cool.  He's from Curitiba, super mellow.  He loves skateboarding, which is super sick.  I'm using all the skate lingo that I learned with Jake to make him think I'm cool, too.  I'm not quite sure exactly what we're gonna do, but whatever it is, we're gonna do it well.

My last week with Elder Souza in Araraquara was pretty boss.  I learned a lot with Elder Souza, but it was a good time for a change.  We lined up some good families right before I left and super soon they're gonna have some baptisms in our area.  I'm going to keep writing the people there so that they can know that I remember them.  Simple acts of kindness make a big difference.

Sunday was a lot better than Saturday.  I found out that I was going to be coming to the office on Wednesday of last week, so the days leading up to Saturday were kind of slow, because I was anxious about coming to office as well as sad to leave behind some super good investigators.  On Saturday night when we were finishing up our visits I was feeling super down and had to sit for a sec.  I said a prayer with Elder Souza and ended up crying.  I hope I don't sound like a wimp, but it was way hard to leave behind such great people.

But on Sunday everything went super well.  My tears seemed to wash away my sadness and the next day we were able to visit our investigators and say some goodbyes.  We had four investigators at church that are doing really well.  Elder Souza and I discussed a little bit more how things can get better in respects to our work with the members, because it seems to be lacking a bit, and I know for sure that it's gonna get better.  

I was also able to stop and say goodbye to Milanese, even though he's not investigating the Church anymore.  It was really nice to see him again and talk as friends.  I plan to keep in touch with him as well.

I hope that you guys are well and that are getting ready for an amazing Halloween.  I'm jealous because Halloween and Thanksgiving don't exist here.  When I get home in January I think we'll have to do a holiday recap.