Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brazil won again!

Caro todo mundo (literally the whole world, but it´s used to say ``everybody`` too),
Oi! Tudo bem? Eu espero que sim. Happy Father´s Day to Father, Mike, and Clayton! And also to my children, tell them that I´ll be expecting my package in the mail. Sounds like the food was good. I have eaten pretty much every type of meat available in the world, except for ribs here in Brazil. I´m sure it won´t be long before I get some though.
Well, I thought I should inform you all of a significant event that happened yesterday in Ji-Paraná. So, we were walking home from lunch, and it was completely, flaming hot outside. This whole past week has definately been the hottest one during my time in Ji-Paraná. So, anyways, it´s flaming hot and we´re dying as we walk home to our apartment (because we weren´t allowed to leave the apartment due to the World Cup festivities, which Brazil won by the way 3-1). We decided to see how hot it was, so we put my alarm clock/ thermometer on the windowsill, and the temperature just kept getting hotter and hotter until it reached 50 degrees Celsius and then the clock shorted out, or the battery was dying out or burnt, because the numbers were all faded and half gone. 50 degrees! That is like 120 Farenheit! So, imagine being in the inferno heat of Mesa summer, but add 100% humidity to it, and you have Ji-Paraná yesterday! Elder Abreu and I were in shock. He said that the hottest it got in his time in Cuiabá was 48 degrees Celsius. Anyways, just thought you should know that I know how you feel right now in the summer of Mesa Land.
Also, this last week was a bit crappy. We didn´t baptize anyone because the parents of Taina left for Porto Velho. It´s kind of complicated, but she agreed to be baptized this next week, as long as her parents get back to sign the form. However, her little 11 year old sister was at Church and she was really interested, so I think it was probably a blessing in disguise, so that they can get baptized together. Also, we waiting for Igor to finally pray about the Book of Mormon. He finally agreed to pray out loud during our last lesson, and based on what he said, he should be ready for baptizm this Sunday. Raimunda and Maria Raimunda (two Indian ladies) have also accepted baptizm for this Sunday. So, we´re working with them.
We´ve been tracking down less-actives this last week, and found out that most of their home addresses don´t exist or they moved. While looking for one of the houses, we encountered some old guy named Francisco who is Muslim. He had lots of "interesting" opinions about our Church, Jews, the U.S. gov´t, and many other things. It was a fun experience that I definately wrote down in my journal, haha. Also, Elder Abreu and I are making plans to have this week be really, really good. We´re currently in Vilhena (much cooler, yay!), but once we get back to Ji-Paraná we´ll hit the ground running. I´ll let you know how it goes.
Oh, and the World Cup was really weird! E. Abreu and I felt like we were sinning as we watched it, and then just relaxed on the couch at Sister Lourdes house. We both realized, "Hey! I haven´t done this in 4 months (or 8 months for E. Abreu)!" It was weird. We get to watch the third Brazilian game, too this Friday. It´s a parent vs. child game with Portugal! We´re hoping for a win. So, is everyone else here based on the fireworks and horn honking in the streets. Ha ha ha.
Well, have a good week! I hope that all goes well with the summer goals and such! Don´t die in the heat, and don´t forget that every member is a missionary! Love you all.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blessings from the Sabbath

Ahoy, folks! First off, why the devil are the Lakers in the NBA finals?! How lame. I hope that the Celtics take it. Sounds like everyone had quite the busy week! It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside to hear that you are not all wasting your summer away, like I used to do at home, hahaha. Cleaning is always fun. I actually enjoy it quite a bit! Today, we spent the whole morning cleaning our house because we have almost no time today because of the World Cup game and all that jazz. Our apartment was filthy and had all sorts of spiders in the corners and all sorts of nasty things... Anyways, it´s clean now and Elder Abreu and I feel really good. And I was cleaning my clothes with the collar soap that I bought here in Brazil and it works really good. I enjoy doing the wash! It takes me forever because our shirts are white and there´s all sorts of dirt that gets on them during the day. And say goodbye to white collars! Womp, womp.

The Português is coming along great! Everyone is always suprised that I´ve only been learning for 4 months. So then I feel all high and mighty! That is, until I go talk with a Brazilian and have to ask them to repeat what they are saying, hahaha. No, but it´s actually coming along really well. I´ve learned a ton more here in the field, because you begin to notice the words that people use most often, how they use the weird tenses (usually only for one or two expressions that are common, and then they don´t use the weird tenses for much else), about the words of the world (that you don´t find in the scriptures or PMG), and stuff like that. I can pretty much always get my way around and get the gist of what our investigators say. Elder Abreu knows a little bit of English which he is learning, and he can explain things a little better if I don´t understand, than Elder Magdo. Elder Magdo knew practically no English, haha. Elder Abreu´s really cool. We are really comfortable with each other and it´s really good, because it´s just us two in the apartment. And I´m starting to think more in Português too! I say almost all the words of my personal prayers in Português. I don´t feel frustrated or anything, so things are good.

When we last left our heroes, Elder Abreu and Carpenter, they were planning on baptizing the 13 year old girl: Taina. However, her dad was still working and wasn´t home to authorize the baptizm. And she didn´t go to Church. But we went and taught the The Restoration to her parents yesterday, and the dad said that he would support her in whatever she felt she needed to do. BAM! The mom was a bit grumpy, but she´s opening up too. So the baptizm will be this Sunday for Taina! And we´re teaching an ancient investigator: Igor. He´s 21 and is the boyfriend of one of the members, Ana Paula. Her parents make him go to Church so he´s always been there with her for the past few months. But, he didn´t really like the missionaries who taught him and he´s going to pray about the Book of Mormon this week. He already knows that the Church is true, but he´s just afraid of praying, because then he knows that he´ll have to follow it. Silly Igor! Anyways, he´s going to get baptized this Sunday. Then, we had a Lamanite family at Church this week. Raimunda, her daughter, her neighbor (also Raimunda) that lives underneath her house, and 5 grandkids (!). She´s really cool. They live right by the river and she told us that everytime that we´ve come and taught her, she´s been blessed afterwards. Opa! She´s told us some cool stories that I don´t have time to type, but she´s really cool. Really humble. They´re gonna get baptized in 2 weeks.

Oh, and cool story to finish up. So, we went and picked up Raimunda this Sunday with President Edilson (they go by first names here in Brazil), and she had a bazillion people, which was awesome. So we had to walk to Church, and it had already started and we were thinking about taking a taxi (they have them everywhere here). We felt that we shouldn´t since it´s the Sabbath day and all, so we walked in the hot sun. While walking, the gas station worker called out to us and wanted to know what the book was that I was holding. We explained about the Book of Mormon and gave it to him. He was really interested and promised to read. The elect are out there! Obey the Sabbath Day! I love you, and have the best week ever.

Monday, June 14, 2010

More Zone Conference travel fun

(Written Wed.) We left on Sunday at 3 in the afternoon to Zone Conference in Cuiaba, which we didn´t know about til 9 Saturday night. So we had a nice 18 hour bus ride to Cuiaba! Thankfully I slept for most of it, haha. But the conference was way, way good. It was about repentence. I´ll talk about it later. It was really funny because we were going from Cuiaba to Ji-Paraná last night, and the bus died. We all got out and waited two hours for another one to come pick everyone up. Thankfully we were in the middle of nowhere, but there was a gas station with food nearby. So that was interesting. Then, we´re like 2 hours from Ji-Paraná and the new bus that we were on died. Yet another bus came and got us, but this one didn´t have A/C; just open windows. Hahaha, yet another adventure in Brazil.

This past week was really good here though! The weather has cooled down a LOT and it rained quite a bit. One of the days was super muggy, but right now it´s still nothing compared to my first week here. Needless to say, I´m drinking lots of water, ha. But we are most likely going to have a baptism this weekend. Taine, is a 13 year old friend of a recent convert that we´re gonna baptize. She´s really shy but she accepted all the committments and was just like ``Yeah, I´ll stop drinking coffee.`` BAM! But, her dad is in Porto Velho working and won´t get back til this weekend. Her mom won´t let her get baptized until her dad gets home and they talk about it. So we´re praying for that. Our other investigators are not progressing quite as well, but we´re having major improvements. The one couple, Alrora and Roberto, are going to get married. They are both keeping up with their goals to stop smoking and drinking and once they´re married, BAPTISM! It´s exciting. I´ve never had investigators actually accept to get married; usually they just decide it´s too much committment/effort. Also, we´re helping a mom of two members to stop smoking and drinking. I´m pretty sure she has a firm testimony already, but she´s never been willing to obey the Word of Wisdom in order to get baptized. She´s really cool and promised Elder Abreu that she would actually do it.

Well, some cool highlights from Zone Conference were about repentence. One thing that President Oliveira had us all promise was to repent every day and to make it true repentence. If you do something wrong, recognize it, and just change the next day. Also, we all need to repent, because nobody is perfect. If we do that, then we´ll just be so much happier and not have the guilt and everything. What a blessing! Also, just get rid of the garbage in our lives. Lots of times we know exactly what it is that we need to change, but we´re just to scared to actually get rid of that movie, music, habbit, or whatever it is. The Lord promises that when we do, it will always be for our good. It´s an act of faith that many are afraid to make, but when the Lord commands, just do it (from the Stake Council papers).

Oh, and the World Cup starts this week: June 11-July 11. President is letting us watch the games that Brazil will be playing (YES!) with a firm member. Except, if any of the games fall on Sunday (like on the 20), then we are obviously not allowed to watch it. Our next P-Day will be on Tuesday (since Brazil is playing on Monday), so he told us to switch our days. So don´t freak out when you get another late email (sorry...). But, I love you and hope that you have a good week! Remember to pray in a quiet place where you can truly have a one-on-one conversation with the Lord. Tiao!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's hot!

Well, I have some awesome pictures of Ji-Paraná, but the computer is not working right. Next week. It is super, de-duper hot here! Holy goodness. Imagine walking around all day and pretty much just sweating the whole time. That´s what it´s like in Ji-Paraná. The members here are way cool. They feed us really well, and the people here have a bit more more than those in Vilhena. Everythings all just a bit nicer. Most of the streets have asphalt and sidewalks. However, the people are also more prideful, hahaha, and not as receptive to our good news! But, we are teaching a good little handful of people that are really firm and will get baptized. We´re teaching some parents of a recent convert, to stop smoking and get married. They are actually keeping up with the goals and everything! It´s amazing. They love every time that we come and visit. We´re also teaching some Indians by the river that speak Guarani. We´re trying to get a Book of Mormon in that language for them.

Opa! About dangue: it is a disease that Elder Onken and Abreu (my comp) got in Ji-Paraná from the mosquitos. He said it was the absolute worst time of his life. Hahaha. Needless to say, I sleep with my mosquito net over me and use the bug spray every night and day. I had like 100 million mosquito bites after the first night here. Also, my health has been really good. I haven´t felt sick or anything. We eat pretty good (I like to eat yogurt with granola in the mornings because the cereal I bought is nasty). The national health care here is pretty crazy too. I went to the hospital with Elder Magdo in Vilhena because he had problems with breathing, and it was a madhouse. So, I just decided that I´ll never get sick.

Sorry I don´t have much time to write right now, but I´ll leave this one thought. One thing that our president said is that while we are outside sweating from every pore, and thinking of complaining, we just need to think of the Savior, and his atoning sacrifice for us. He BLED at every pore for every one of our sins. This helps to put things in perspective. We are so blessed to have this in our life and to be able to repent. I love you and all have a good week! Remember to open your mouth and find people for the missionaries! This is a Church-wide work!
-Love, Elder Carpenter