Monday, March 26, 2012

Still no phone...

1. Did you get another phone? Did you find it or what are you doing?
Well we haven't gotten another phone yet. I have a feeling that we probably won't get one till the end of the transfer. But we will see. Things have been working about so far. We have been using Sara´s phone to get numbers and what not, numbers of how the week went.

2. Will you get to listen to General Conference?
HECK YEAH! Haha and the best part is that I will probably get to hear it in English this time. It's such a blessing to hear the apostles REAL voice and what not. And it's just a little bit easier to understand as well. I'm pretty stoked to watch conference. I hope a ton of investigators will come.

3. Do you have a new date set for Davi?
Haha well about Davi. Davi, recently got a job. Selling items on buses and what not. He got a pass that allows him to use the onibus whenever he wants for free! For sure, he has been selling candies and what not. Since he is really poor and has nothing. Not to mention his health is horrible.

4. How are your new contacts Rafaela, Denilson, Beatrice and Barbara & Nildo? Are they progressing?
W'ell about these people... They didnt show up to church. That was a disappointment. As of now, they are starting to get a little mole, meaning a little shaky. For example, they say... oh I don't know, I won't promise to anything. And they won't give a firm answer. There are a ton of these types of people here in Brazil. They don't want a commitment, for example marriage. Usually these people waste a missionaries time, because they don't progress.

5. Did you get my third box I sent? The Easter one?
I've gotten the box with the presents. And yes, I did open it early because of transfers. Haha I would have space to put an unopened box in my suitcase. And.... I really wanted to open them because of the hygiene products :) I loved the box! But I have not gotten the Easter one yet. But, I will be here in Sao Marcos for the birthday! It's the week before transfers. So I will probably be opening the rest of the gifts on my birthday. Haha that should be a blast!

6. Do Brazilian’s celebrate Easter? If so how?
Yes they do celebrate Easter! It's pretty much the same thing, except for the Easter egg hunts and chocolate bunnies. I heard that they do not hide the Easter baskets in the morning as well. BUT...I do know that they have giant chocolate eggs they eat! Haha basically they same thing as the chocolate bunny. I though you would get a good kick out of that.

7. Any cool experiences this week?

As for this week. Nothing super amazing happened. It was a pretty relaxed week. But the tents made of plastic are growing. It's freakin nuts! I talked with an officer to get some info. They said they plan on kicking them out. But they don't know when. I can tell ya that it's going to be pretty ugly. They are going to send the swat of Brazil there. But that's about it. Like I said, nothing super amazing. But it's starting to get a lot cooler here.

As for the buses. DO NOT worry about the buses. Yes, the drivers are super crazy! But no need to worry. You guys don't need to get a passport. It will cost a lot of money and not to mention you guys will be waiting a long time. NO worries, I am very observant of my surroundings when walking. Haha I'm always on my guard. especially with the stupid tents, there are a lot of idiots up there.

Wait, I do remember of an experience. Not a super awesome one, but it will do. So one day, I was having troubles speaking Portuguese. I wasn't quite sure why. I was thinking that it was in my head or whatever. And well, as I got to thinking, I forgot to thank Heavenly Father for the gift of tongues and took the gift for granite. And well, I've been thanking Him and what not. BUT, the thing that struck me was, the fact of how fast that gift was taken away. Crazy thing to think about. And the power and authority missionaries have. Just a little bit of food for thought.

Anyways, things are great here! Brazil is starting to cool off down here, but its still pretty warm. I still got my tan line on my arms, but I have a feeling that it will go away pretty quick. Anyways, love you all! boa semana pra vocês!
Oh and when are the Richardson's moving. I want to mail them a letter back!

Com amor,
Elder Firl

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Zone

The Mission President and Jake's Zone.

Staying in the same area...

1. So do you have transfers this week? Do you know if you are staying or leaving? Are you getting a new companion?
I will not be transferred from the area! Haha which is awesome. I love Elder Woodward to death but we will be companions still.

2. Is Davi still planning on the baptism on March 25? How is his Word of Wisdom problem coming?
Oh he is coming along really well! He is down to 1 cigarette! What a blessing! But his date of baptism fell through, which kinda sucks, because he didn't go to church. BUT! this isn't his fault, we have asked a member to pick him up 3 times and every time he hasn't picked him up. Because Davi`s health is horrible and can't walk very well.

3. How are your new contacts Rafaela, Denilson, Beatrice and Barbara & husband? Are they progressing?
Rafaela and Denilson went to church! So they are progressing. We taught the Word of Wisdom and they are fulfilling it :) but the rest did not go to church and Nildo, the husband, came home drunk.... ugh. But things are going well with them :)

4. How are things with Joyce?
I still haven't heard from her recently. Who knows what will happen with her. Haha I don't think she knows what she wants quite yet.

5. Have any of my packages ever been opened? So you should have 2 more from me. One is for birthday and the other is for Easter. All your birthday presents are wrapped. I will be sending another box with some other birthday gifts from other family members, you won’t get it in time for your birthday but it will still be fun to get!
They have never been opened yet. OH PERFECT! Haha I know I'm going to be opening some presents today for FHE (Family Home Evening) in Sara´s house. That should be pretty fun.

6. Did you find a sister in your ward to fix your long sleeve shirts?

I did find someone.... Sara´s mom. But their family has helped us out SO much,that I'm kinda timid to ask. haha

7. Any cool experiences this week?
Well the cell phone got lost by my companion and I didn't get transferred. Josenede (the wife of Admir) showed up at church yesterday! Talk about a miracle! I couldn't believe it!

8. Have the drug dealers protected you or watched out for you?

Nah, they have just left us alone. But if you wanna know something crazy just look up novo pinheirinho. There are a bunch of people making tents, made of plastic. It's pretty much a riot and well I heard that there is going to be an expulsion. By the SWAT of Brasil. There are a lot of drug lords in the area and are armed. The funniest part, we always pass by because it's a short cut in our area. There is a huge soccer field that we always pass by, if you want to look at photos.

Anyways, things are going well here. This transfer will be really interesting without a cell phone. But everything will turn out all right! Love ya all!

I'm glad Alex´s soccer coach got a good kick out of the Santos "Neymar" jersey. Tell Alex that Corinthians lost and there is a phrase here in Portuguese about the fan of Corinthians... all the Corinthians are not thieves but, all thieves are Corinthians. Haha I tell people this all the time. I think he will get a good kick out of it.

Love ya all!
Elder Firl

Monday, March 12, 2012

More contacts this week....

Anyways, things are excellent here! Sounds like dad had just a little bit of time to relax. And those cleats of Alex's are pretty sick! Not gonna lie. Loved the Santo's SHIRT. Wear it with pride Alex! Let me know if you have questions about the team Alex or if anyone makes any comments :) Enjoy it!

1. How was Zone Conference?
I would have to say that Zone Conference was pretty wicked! I learned a lot about how I can improve my teaching and what not.

2. Did you get my two boxes?

I got one box so far. I still haven't gotten Aubrey's package. But I did get yours mom. Just one for now. But no worries, at the transfer, which is Tuesday, not this Tuesday, but the next. I should get it there.

3. Did you see Elder Blackford? I have been following his blog.
I didn't get to see him... sadly. How is he? Send me his email! As missionaries, we can send each other emails. haha

4. Any new contacts this week?

Haha lots of contacts! We did find Rafaela, Denilson, Beatrice, Barbara and her husband. And they all have the desire to be baptized. Barbara and her husband are not married.... but they are searching for a church. So this is perfect! They have lots of questions and we challenged them for 25 of March for baptism. And they are waiting to get an answer.

5. How is Davi? Is he okay?

He is great now! He is still firm for the baptism on the 24 of March. We have been working with him on the Word of Wisdom. He was smoking 20 cigarettes a day, but now, he is down to 2 each day! What a miracle. He is way awesome. But the next challenge will be to explain about blood. How we receive blood, he is Jehovah´s witness. But he is way awesome and firm!

6. Any progress on Danilo?
Nope... his mom is stubborn, we can't do anything until the end of the year. But he is way firm in the church! He goes every Sunday and loves it!

7. Any cool experiences this week?
We nothing super duper exciting, just that Cleane from Itapecerica called me and said that she was baptized! Heck yeah! She thanked me and what not for everything. What an awesome experience!
Another thing that was pretty neat. We did a FHE (Family Home Evening) with Joyce and Sara and her family. After the lesson Sara told us that Joyce said she needs to be baptized soon! Although, she seems to change her mind everyday.

But I was doing some reflecting about this. About what I did, talking about baptism. What I did was not wrong. Talking about baptism is something people fear. As I was reading in preach my gospel, (my purpose) I learned a lot. I was thinking about the purpose. What is our purpose to teaching, talking to people and just everything... to baptize people! Dallin H. Oaks, said the following mais or menos, We are not here to increase numbers of the church or to improve peoples lives. basically he said, we are here to baptize them and keep them firm in the church! Call the people to repentance. Like Alma and other Book of Mormon heroes, they constantly called the people to repentance. And so... maybe I'm harsh, but I'm not going to waste my time with someone that does not have the desire to be baptized. I'm not going to teaching someone who won't fulfill the promises that will keep them firm.

Because of this, on the first visit I talk about baptism and our purpose. The way Christ was baptized. And simply ask if they have the desire. It's simple. Doing this has given us so much success! We have found people like Davi and Rafaela and Beatrice and etc. I can testify that I have been feeling better because of their desire to learn and understand. We don't have to work SO hard to drag them to church. They just come. So, I kinda got down on myself because I thought I was pushing baptism too much. But I hate to say it, I was wrong, I wasn't talking about baptism enough. There are so many people here that we just have to FIND. Who are willing to listen. Lesson learned.

8. When are transfers?
Explained já

9. Do you get to watch Santos play? Do you get to watch any soccer on TV?
Haha I don't. But I always ask in the street who is winning and what not, and make a contact with them. I know I'm horrible. BUT! Santos won against Corinthians! Hahah BOOO YEAH!!!!! Everyone here loves Corinthians. So it was a pretty good feeling that Santos won :)

10. Do most people have TV’s?
Pretty much everyone has a TV.

11.How are your suits holding up? And what about your special socks?
Suits are holding up fantastic! And the socks are doing well too!

12. Did you get a new Ward mission leader yet or are you getting one?
Our ward isn't focused with missionary work, the Bishop said. And he said we won't be getting a new missionary leader for some time.

13. So have you had bugs in your apartment? If so what, send pictures!
Haha we just cleaned our apartment, spic and span!

Mom, all is well here! I love you so much! Thank you so much for everything! The packages and the emails. I know I'm not very good at expressing my gratidão, but I am really thankful for everything mom. I love you so much! And please don't ever question if I do or don't. Because I do! I can't thank you enough for the things you do. The way you have raised me, all the compliments you receive about me goes to you. Because of the way you and dad have raised me! I love you mom and dad!

Com Amor,
Elder Firl

Friday, March 9, 2012

Got the stress genes from dad...

It sounds like it was a pretty crazy week this week! Full of lots of adventure and what not! Joseph Smith is for sure a prophet of God. Being on the mission, my testimony has grown so much with this. All the afflictions he went though and all the miracles that happened. How fast he translated the Book of Mormon, and the revelation for the Doctrine & Covenants, just everything he did was incredible. I know Joseph Smith saw that pillar of light above his head. I have no doubt whatsoever.

As for Alex, he needs to take it easy. I think he can still play soccer. Soccer is his life.

As for dad, it seems like he is with a lot of stress, haha I've kinda noticed on the mission that I've gotten the stress genes from dad. I have never been so stressed in my entire life. Haha but is good practice for the future. I'm learning to let go of stress and just saying, oh well. Learn and move on.

And about the money, Sara sent a text to us. She will take care of everything. She is way good about that stuff. Haha she kinda reminds me of you mom. It makes me laugh.

About the jerseys. Okay, the one with Messi on the back is for dad,but originally I bought it for Alex before Christmas, but at Christmas he already got a Barcelona jersey. SO, I figured the jersey could go to dad (The one with Messi on the back).The other Barcelona jersey is mine, with just the number 10. The Santos jersey (with Banco on the front in orange letters without the name on the back is mine!) The one with Neymar is Alex`s, which is a Santos jersey. They are both identical, but mine is worth more. But I thought Alex would love the Naymar on the back. Because you can only buy this jersey here in Brazil and Naymar (NAY Mar) is WAY famous! And probably nobody has heard of him in the States. The Emerates jersey is mine as well (the purplish one), but Alex can wear it to school once to show it off :) I got a really good deal on that shirt, only 5 dollars! Yes dollars, reais, it's a little more. The other Santos jersey (with Seara on the front and on the sleeves is mine as well) But Alex can show it off at school. Does dad or yourself want a jersey here?

1. How is Elder Woodward this week? Is he feeling any better?
Haha he has been feeling better. We discovered he is an allergy to maracujá or Passion fruit but he is feeling better.

2. How are you feeling?
I've been great with health. But I'm stressed out of my mind. Nothing is organized in this ward. Our ward mission leader is engaged and threw us under the bus, and then had a meeting with the Bishop. He has canceled meetings on us for 6 weeks, and then blamed in on us with a meeting. Bishop talked to us. We had a meeting, he tried to burn us. But that died pretty quick. He thought we have been slacking off. I then made the question, Bishop, have you seen your attendance rate in the ward the past couple weeks with less actives. He said yes,our attendance has been high. I said, yup, because we have been working with them. So that fire died pretty quick. And I gave him ideas to create a ward website to organize an calendar and what not. He loved the idea. But nobody knows how to do it but me. So, we are organizing the ward. talk about STRESSFUL!

3. Did you get any of my packages yet?

Not yet, I'm going to stop by in the mission office tomorrow, I'll know by tomorrow.

4.Any cool experiences this week?
Hahaha...well we got kicked out of a house. That was pretty funny. We talked about baptism to a catholic family. They agreed with everything and realized their baptism was false. and this 60 year old was yelling at us. Saying Jesus´s baptism was false!!! blah blah blah, when 5 minutes earlier she agreed that Jesus was perfect in every way. It was pretty funny, they didn't like the truth to much.

5. How is Danilo?
He is good. We gave him the baptismal ficha, the paper work, he just needs to get the signature from his dad to get baptized. We just decided to be persistant with the mom.

6. So with all your new contacts how have things gone? Leonardo, Davi & Rodrigo?
Davi, went to the hospital... Rodrigo, ditched us to play video games. So we dropped him. Leonardo, the meeting fell with him and didn't go to church.

7. Have you gone anywhere on P-Day?
Haha nope. Just Embu, to buy things and to hang out with other Elders.

8. Do you go into Primary and talk to the kids about missionaries?

I just talk with them in the hall way and what not.

9. How often do you have a Zone Conference?
Once every 3 months, somewhere in that range. We will have a missionary conference tomorrow. I'll see Elder Blackford tomorrow!!! Heck yeah!

10. How are your shoes holding up? And your shirts?
Shoes are fantastic! Shirts, I'm not having good luck with pen stains. Like the pen exploding and leaking. Two white shirt sleeves have been toasted. I've tried getting the stain out. But nothing, bleach and everything. SO, I'm going to ask a member to cut my long sleeves into short sleeves, well two of them. Because I never use my long sleeves.

11. Do you need more duct tape?

But over all I am well :) Things are awesome. Love ya all!

Com tanto amor,

Elder Firl