Monday, January 30, 2012

Ate bull stomach...and it didn't agree with me...

So over all this week was pretty sweet! Our numbers were way good! And well its been a blessing. But this morning and last night were horrible. So for lunch yesterday we had buchada. Which basically has a bunch of meats and what not. WAY good. i found out it also has bull stomach and stuff like that. Haha and well last night. My stomach was killing me. About 1 in the morning. I went to the bathroom and the Hersey squirts until about 6 in the morning. It sucked. My first hardcore experience with food. I won't be eating that again. Even though it was so good! Haha but good thing it was p-day today. I'll be able to catch up on sleep and what not. Oh, and I lost a butt load of weight from my adventure last night. But over all this week was most excellent! Besides the experience today, it was a fantastic week!

1. So when is Marli’s baptism date? I love her cousin Sister Wolfe! She was so wonderful to call me from Utah!!
So Marli´s baptism date is Feb. 11, but who knows what will happen. The last visit was probably one of the most powerful lessons I've had. We brought the Bishop with us and everything. But she is hesitating. We asked what is stopping her and she doesn't know. We explained that doubt, and the blessings she would receive after baptism. but she just said... we will see. Which is what she said last time. We love her to death! But this woman needs to be baptized. I might make a phone call to one of the assistants or zone leaders to help us out. Because we have done everything we know. we need someone with more experience.

2. Any new contacts this week? You mentioned a boy…anyone else that is promising?

Hahaha holy cow. So this week was a miracle! Monday, we were one our way to a meeting, walking in the street and all of a sudden this lady stops us and says. "You guys have to visit my family." She isn't from the state of Sao Paulo, so she was just visiting and well we get there, the whole family was there. Parents and 3 children. The lesson was excellent! They didn't go to church... but then right after, this lady took us to another house, some friends of hers. We taught another lesson and found 6 people there. Holy cow, talk about a miracle! In 3 hours because of references we found 11 people. The first family is the Familia de Admir. We have been visiting them a lot. They seem a little shaking. It's hard to tell if they have a huge desire, but we will see this week.

Also, the ward has been trusting us. We got more reference this week too! What a blessing. The work has been moving so fast this last week. We taught this girl named Joyce. She is 21,and is looking for the truth. Her friend is a member and has been teaching her, Sara. So Sara called us and we visited her Saturday. Taught about the great apostasy, with great details. Lots of details. Haha good thing I've been studying hardcore about it. My companion was like, good thing you studied about that. It was a fantastic lesson. We had to teach the GA because she asked `why do I have to be re baptized? I know it's about authority, but how the this authority get lost and who received it,` it was pretty sweet. We returned Sunday, taught about the plan of salvation, she once again asked pretty crazy questions, but with the spirit we were able to answer. Stuff I've only read once came to mind, it was pretty sweet. And we asked her for baptism. SHE ACCEPTED!!! boohyeah!!! 18 of Feb. Haha this situation is complicated. But she doesn't live in our area, but this member wanted us to teach her. I felt pretty special. So she won't be our baptism... number wise, but having the opportunity to see her grow is legit! We will visit her tomorrow.

3. Did you ever go to a Western Union and get the money I sent?
Not yet, I'm working on it. I wanted to get it this week. But Elder Ballard of the 12 came to visit our mission. Talk about legit! A man of power! He explains the gospel so simple and holy smokes, he is the man! Talk about an awesome experience.

4. Did you send the package to us? Did you insure it and what happens if things are missing?
I will send the package tomorrow. I don't think anything will get taken out or stolen. But if anything is wrong it will come back to me. I don't have money to insure it. You guys will probably get it in a month or something. It's a black box.

5. Thinking ahead as I have to…what did you want for your birthday?
As for my birthday, I want some ties, and hygiene stuff, oh and shorts!

6. Have you had any close calls with the drug dealers there?

Not yet. It's been pretty quiet around here. The Jehovah´s Witness have been up in our grill though. And people wanting to know more about the Masons. Haha thanks to the history channel, I know quite a bit.

7. Do you get to go to the temple each month?

We go to the temple every 3 months. We went last week, it was pretty sweet :)

Love ya all,

Peace out,
Elder Firl

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The adventures of getting a washing machine...

That is so awesome that Sister Wolfe got to talk to ya. :) She is so kind! So this email will be short, since I've already been on the computer and just received your email. haha (As a side note, Sister Wolfe is from South Jordan, Utah. She is Marli's cousin. Sister Wolfe married an American. Her husband served in the same mission as Jake about 13 years ago.)

So I got a good story to tell for this week. So we finally got a washing machine :) My companion and I had to run and get it though. Haha let me tell ya, it was an adventure. So we had a ride and everything planned out. We show up and our ride bails on us. But the guy said, if you can find someone to drive you guys, you can take my car. Which was a VW bus. That I think was stolen from a long time ago. I mean this car is on the edge. So anyways, you have to use a screw driver thing to start the car, but in a certain way. We had no clue how to start this car. Everyone was trying to help us and these kids were messing with the wires for about 40 min and the car started. Haha we thought yes! Off we go. We got someone to drive us. And as he steps on the accelerator, it breaks. Haha we thought, oh great. haha so we are trying to fix the gas peddle, got it fixed and everything. And off we went. Man I thought I was gonna die. It was more scary than driving the 280z home. But we got the washing machine and it is AWESOME! I love it! Anyways, my time is running out. Love ya all!

1. So did Marli get baptized? How are things going with her? I know her family is so excited to see the change in her!

Things are excellent with her. We rechallenged her for baptism! She is changing so much and just needs to drop cafe (coffee). But she is awesome, I love this family! She always give us mangos. I LOVE mangos! But we rechallenged her for baptism!

2. Any new contacts this week?

We have gotten a ton of references! The ward is now helping us a lot! So this is awesome! We met this kid and things are going so well with him. The ward trusts us and is giving us contacts like no other. Thank goodness, sounds like the good spiritual message at lunch are paying off!

3. Did you give a talk in church? Sister Wolfe mentioned to me that you had or were giving a talk in sacrament meeting.

Haha I did give a talk. I talked about missionary work. And basically, that we need to work as a ward and that we are in need of the ward. We need references. It went really well I thought.

4. So Ma Wood told me you dream in Portuguese. How cool is that! Sounds like you have immersed yourself in the language!

Yes I dream in Portuguese, its pretty weird, but freakin awesome. haha

5. Did you ever go to a Western Union and get the money I sent?

Not yet... its been so busy. I think we will try tomorrow or wed.

6. Did you find out how much it cost to send a package from Brazil to USA?

Not yet, I got my package together, I just need to send it. Which I will send this week. It has I lot of jerseys. I got gifts for you guys! I was pretty limited with money so.

7. Thinking ahead as I have to…what did you want for your birthday?

Haha I have to make a list. I'll send you a list next week.

8. Do you and your companions play games together? If so what?

Haha we just tell stories about girls and what not, and play UNO at the same time. It's pretty fantastic, we also talk about the gospel and what not. We just talk a lot. It's pretty great, about college, the military for him. Haha its pretty sweet.

9. Do the 4 of you switch companions and do exchanges together? Is the other set of Elders attend a different ward?

Haha we don't do exchanges with them, but we share the same building. They are in a different ward, the ward after us.

10. Isn’t it starting to turn summer there?

Not sure, the seasons don't change a ton here. This week, its been pouring down rain, and with lightning and thunder. Haha its pretty normal. the weather is wacko here. Literally it's sunny as can be, and then an hour later, its so dark and rainy for the rest of the day. worse than Washington. Haha hard to believe.

Love, Elder Firl

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Run Forest Run!!"......

Holy cow! It sounds like another really busy week there in the Firl home. It sounds like Alex is doing pretty well. He always seems to find a way to get injured or something. haha

But things are well here! I'm doing great! Some gel would be great too! Lots of shaving cream and body wash. ill survive until next month. No worries. Love ya mom!

1. How are things going with Fernando and his family? That story was great about them how they were hiding from you when you stopped by!
About that family. We stopped teaching them. They have no desire to read the Book of Mormon or do anything, so we stop teaching them. We need to find people with desire to read and find the truth. We had a Zone Conference and our leaders said to teach people with desire. Find the prepared, so we will listen to his counsel.

2. How are thing going with Maria and Amelio?

Well, they just won't to let go the drugs and don't want to be baptized. So, we stopped teaching them as well. We will pass by every once in awhile to see how they are doing.

3. Are you teaching Marli again?
Heck yeah we are! Story time... So her baptism is this week. And well, this last week we visited her with 2 members. We have been trying to get her integrated in the ward, to have friends and what not. And well, this visit we were explaining how to receive an answer and how to recognize this answer, that it's really an answer from God. So, we were teaching and had the members share their testimonies how they received an answer and what not. And well, we had a moment where the spirit was SO strong. Probably one of the strongest lessons I've ever had. Marli, had tears running down her face. There was a moment of silence. And I felt inspired to ask, Marli, what are you feeling right now? Her answer was joy, peace, and a feeling I can't describe. I thought to myself, perfect, and then I asked another question, Marli, why do you think you are feeling this peace and happiness? Another moment of silence. Her husband said, because the word is good. They are pretty words. I asked, are the false? He said no. And so, I boldly shared my testimony that she can have this peace and happiness forever. And that she is ready for baptism. And that this is an answer, from heavenly father and what not. And well, we ask her, about the baptism, and well... she rejected it... saying, I'm not prepared, I need to feel that answer.
Talk about a heart breaker. I thought to myself, how could she reject. The spirit was so strong! SO strong. I was kinda bummed. The members were in shock, one being an returned missionary and well, Marli, received a phone call. It was from her daughter who is married and is living in Utah, who is a recent convert. Marli talked to her for a little bit and then looked over at me and said. My daughter wants to talk to you. I thought to myself, am I allowed to talk on the phone? I asked my companion and well, he was right next to me. But she was speaking English to me. I think she didn't want her mom to hear what she said. But what she said moved me so much. She said the following. Elder, thank you so much for what you are doing. My mom´s faith has grown so much. She is praying and reading, and is feeling so happy. This was the gist, her words were so pretty and heart touching. She said, please don't give up. She will be baptized sooner or later. And Elder, you may not be the one to baptize her. But, she said, Elder, its your baptism. You and your comp have made such a profound difference in her life. and well, things like that. After the phone call, I thought, even if she doesn't get baptized this week. The difference she has made and the difference the message has impacted her is incredible. She joy she has felt, I thought, holy cow, we have really touched and changed her life. Just a small thought. And that one day, she will be baptized.

4. How was Embu Das Artes? What did you do when you were there?
It was most excellent! haha we looked at the little shops there and I bought a couple things. but it's a surprise :)

5. Did you ever go to a Western Union and get the money I sent?

Not yet. I will pass by tomorrow. its been so rushed.

6. Did you find out how much it cost to send a package from Brazil to USA?
Not yet, I need to ask my companion how I can check the price, if I need to bring all the stuff I want to send or what.

7. Why do you think this area is harder? Is it because people are afraid and don’t want to talk to people?

Well, this area is SO hard. we are doing all we can, but cant seem to get a baptism. It's so hard to get people to commit to baptism and to meet the standards. Since were always being bashed to meet the standards. We teach with the spirit so strong, and constantly, I'm looking for ways to improve my teaching. And ugh, it's really discouraging. It's so hard to find someone with desire. But I know there are people out there. We just have to find them. This area is really hard. But I'm growing so much. It's hard, but I'm growing.

8. Is it getting warmer there?

Haha it's the same. It's really rainy here. Thunder storms every day. It's pretty sweet.

9. Are there different looking of bugs there? Do you ever have any in your apartment?
HAHA yes! The caterpillars are sick! They have cool looking fur things. I took a picture, and yes, we always have weird bugs hanging around in the apartment.

10. I saw that your companion had a birthday, did you do anything special or fun for his birthday?
Well, I got him a little gift. Gave him a Tide pen and what not. For his birthday, we worked. haha

11. Have you had a zone conference yet? What do you do there?

Haha well, we talk about our areas and how we can improve. And then we do a training. Pretty basic.
Okay I have a story, but I have little time. I'll try to send it off really quick. So my companion and I were on our way to the zone meeting. Time was short, and we have to take 2 buses to get there. And well we were on the first bus. Talking and what not. And well we stopped and descended from the bus, to get the next bus. And as the bus that we just got off of, was leaving my companion said. "Freak! I left my wallet on the bus." I thought, freak, we have little time to get there. SO I freakin' booked it. Imagine, two missionaries in an area we don't know chasing after a bus. Haha an America. We chased this bus for probably 15 min. Asking where the bus went to other people and what not. Luckily the bus had a pit stop. We got the wallet and booked in back and caught the next bus on time. Showed up to the meeting on time as well. My companion and the other missionaries said, "freak, where did you learn to run so fast forest." Haha it was pretty funny.

Anyways, love you all!

Elder Firl

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Adventure of Fernando....

Holy smokes, it sure sounds like its been an emotional week there in La Center. Darren Smith... it rings a bell, but I'm not remembering who he is. That's awesome that Linda called you. Haha I told her to give you a little phone call. I truly admire this lady and her story. I was there when she shared it and let me tell yeah, she has had a really hard life.

I hope Alex continues to get better! Sounds pretty rough! He needs to be careful, slide tackles are always really dangerous.

But as for this week. Haha this week has been pretty adventurous let me tell ya.

1. We loved your story about the investigator that you ran to get his contact information and then taught his family of 8. Dad even shared it during Priesthood at church. Did they come to church? Any further contact with them? What was his name?
Haha oh it's a pretty great story :) His name is Fernando,and well they didn't go to church. And yes, hehe we did contact them again. This is where the adventure begins. So Fernando and his family live in an apartment. The TOP floor. anyways, so we show up and there are some Jehovas witness. And well, they were there teaching and well they invited us into their home. We just sat and listened to their message and what not. We decided to just leave a spiritual message to avoid contention. But the JWs were making some funny questions. I was ´prepared to defend the church. They asked, "So Joseph Smith created the Book of Mormon." I replied, no. He translated it. Then they asked, "so your church´s name is Mormon." Again, I said no. It's the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And well explained just a little bit and then they left.

The next visit. So my companion and I are climbing the stairs, and well I saw the family sitting there watching TV. and well they noticed us and ran. Haha I just laughed. I got to the door and called Fernando. A little girl showed up and said, everyone left. I laughed and said, is that right? Is Fernando there. She said yes and got him. So Fernando showed up and was laughing. I knew what was up. I said, it's okay, I don't bite I promise. So anyways, Fernando led us to the back room of his house and well there were 5 people in the corner hiding from us. I just laughed and said, if you want we can leave. They explained they can't listen to another religion.
So were teaching Fernando. He is making some pretty good questions. The rest of the family comes in to listen. And this is where it got pretty heated. They kept bashing against the church. I told myself to stay calm and listen to the spirit. They made a comment about, you guys don't believe in God. My response was, look at the name of our church. The church of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. they were pretty quiet. But they continued to make stupid questions and wouldn't let us answer. And kept praising their church. I finally said, can I make a question. They said sure. Here was my question. Who founded your church? They were dead quiet. I waited. They said, a man. I asked, a pastor or who? They didn't know. They got mad and said, who founded your church? I had a big smile on my face and said, I was hoping you would ask that. Jesus Christ did. Again the room was quiet. dead quiet. My companion and I finished the lesson. They weren't attentive. I finally just bore my testimony. And well, said a prayer and left. It was a good experience. one I won't forget. It almost turned into bible bash. But I didn't want to do a bible bash.

2. Have you been able to teach anyone else?
It's been difficult here. But were teaching Maria and Amelio. They have problems with the Word of Wisdom. But they are getting better :) We will see what happens.

3. Okay I have heard things about the shoes. Does it depend on shoe type…like Converse are one dealer and Etnies another?
It's the same thing here. They have brands and stuff.

4. So is Marli back from traveling?
She is :) she went to church and found one of her family members is a member and got him to go with her to church. With a member its a lot easier.

5. Are the people in the ward good to work with you and give you contact information?
They are alright. Only 2 people give us contacts. But it was zero. So it's getting better. We're getting the trust of the Ward.

6. So what do you do on P-Day with 3 other Elders? Do you still get to sleep?
Haha yeah I still sleep. But this p-day, we went to Embu Das Artes. I went and bought a cool little thing there. I don't know what it's called. But I'm going to see how much it would be to send a package to you guys. That way I can send my jerseys and some surprises to you guys :) But for the most part I sleep and clean on P-day.

7. Have you gotten any recipes for some of the meals they make, that you just love? You might want to do that!!
Not yet. I need to ask how to make pudim (pudding), beans and rice, and well just this. I'm going to makes beans a rice at school. Haha it's SO good. I love beans and rice.

8. Is the curfew in this area more strict?

Nah, its the same.

9. I will get you another umbrella or is it cheaper to get one there?
I fixed mine with duct tape :) but the next package, I have a list: more shaving cream, body wash, deodorant too. Haha if possible.

But things are good here! I'm loving what I'm doing! So many crazy things happen here and it just makes me laugh. I love you all and well, keep you the good work!

Love Elder Firl


This is Jake's new area, Sao Marcos.

This is a picture of Sidney and Nair's baptism.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Running and teaching as I go....

So, it sounds like things are going pretty well in the Firl home. Sad to hear about the Vaughan's. I'll be sure to keep them in my prayers. But sounds like your lesson was fantastic! Seems as if Alex is keeping up with the ladies pretty good as well. And about the my hair. Yeah I did cut my own hair. But I'm not really here to impress any girls. Haha so I don't really mind. But at home, haha for sure I'll want someone to cut my hair. Haha I gotta get married ya know :P

Things are well here. It's really tough out here to get lessons and well, its just tough here. But I find myself growing so much with my faith, and learning to depend more on the Lord, and learning how I can improve. It's been great. So even if I don't baptize anyone out here, I have learned a lot already, and will continue to grow a lot. Part of being on the mission is to grow for yourself as well. Numbers of baptism is good, but if you baptize and don't grow on the mission, your doing something wrong. Haha just my opinion.

But things are well, it rains a lot here. Haha and well, my umbrella is... getting put to good use. In fact, it's starting to fall apart. Haha good thing I have duct tape. Haha its being put to good use out here. I've fixed the ironing board and a lot of things with it :)

Well, I hope all is well! keep up the good work at home! Love you all! New Years was great by the way, I was in the house by 5 in the afternoon. It was freakin NUTS here. The Brazilians sure know how to party. I can tell you that.

1. So did any investigators come to church?
Well this week we had 0 investigators. That was kinda a heart breaker. We went to go pick one guy up. Had issues with a ride since the invesigator has a broken leg. Anyways, got everything figured out to pick him up. we get there and well... he wasn't there. Haha just our luck. It's all good. Because next week he will come. :) His name is Sidney!

2. How is Marli coming along?
Well, Marli went to travel and she won't get back until this week. So the lessons have been on pause for now. We have been calling her and checking up on her though. she is reading and praying, so that's good :)

3. So what things have you noticed that are different for this area from your last other than the shoes on the wires?
Haha well this area is a lot harder. It's way harder to get into a house and teach. My other area was way easy to get in. So being here, I've had to get a little creative to teach lessons and make contacts. For example, my companion was making a contact. The guy said, I'm in a rush, and well my companion just said ok. Haha so the next contact he made in the street, the guy said the same thing. But this time, I butted in and said, no worries I'll walk with ya! He tried to lose me, and said, well I gotta run. Literally. So I said, OK! Lets run. Haha so I'm making this contact running and explaining a little bit about our message. Got his address and made an appointment. My companion laughed and said, dude, that was pretty epic. Told him I got the appointment set for Thursday. So Thursday, we were having issues with finding new people. We had 0 at this point. Our goal, 10. It was tough. So we passed by this guys house, the contact I made while running. We show up, his entire family was there. 8 people! We got them all together and taught the lesson. What a blessing. My thoughts, we have to be persistent. They may reject the gospel the first time, but keep being persistent.

4. Are there vendors on the streets like in your last area?
Of course, not as many because of Embu Das Artes. But there are a good amount.

5. How is the church building? Is it too far from where your apartment is?
It's about 10 min. But its a really nice building, so I'm content :)

6. How is it with 4 missionaries in the same unit? Hard to get use to?
It's actually pretty legit. Talk about the Portuguese getting better. It's pretty sweet! I like it a lot :)

7. Do the members feed you for lunch in this area?

Yup. They feed us pretty good too.

8. Can you try sending me a couple of pictures? Send it in a separate email and only do 2. I want to see if we can make it work this time?
I don't have my camera with me and this computer doesn't have a USB drive. I'll try next week!

9. Where do you go to get your emails?
We go to the Lan house, basically a computer lab. We pay one "real" to use the computer for an hour.

Anyways, hope all is well. Love ya all!
Elder Firl