Thursday, September 30, 2010

New companion, same city

 Sarah sent me a picture of Tucker.   What the heck! I totally thought he was Ben from about a year or 2 ago. Tucker boy has become even cuter.
As for my shoes, they are doing fine. There is only wear on the soles, but the Wolverines and (uh... forgot the name of the other one) are both doing great. My blisters and everything stopped about 3 months ago, so I have no complaints about them. Some missionaries run through shoes really fast, but that´s because they don´t treat them very well. Having 2-3 pairs also helps a lot, too. Most of my Brazilian comps only have one pair that dies out pretty fast, and then they have to keep buying new ones.
Well, you´ll never guess what happened with transfers! I´m going to... stay here in Ji-Paraná. If you want, you can send my records to the branch here because maybe I´ll just stay here for the rest of my mission. Elder Santana got transferred to the exact same branch/area that he came from, except he´s gonna be a District Leader there. I´m gonna miss my little companion, but thankfully we´ll see each other at Zone Conference. Elder Dorneles is coming up here, from Rondonopolis, to be my comp. Í don´t really know much about him except that he´s from Rio de Janeiro, speaks English very well, and has 6 or so months left on the mission. I remember talking with him once and he seemed like a cool guy. I´m not too excited to stay in the same place, but it´s all gonna be good. Vamos batizar esse povo!
Other than that, nothing new has happened. We´ve got this one girl, Jaquilene, who wants to get baptized. The only problem is that her mom doesn´t want to let her. Her mom is probably gonna get baptized sometime soon (after she gets married), so hopefully we´ll have Jaquilene´s baptism this week.
I had to give an emergency talk this Sunday (meaning I had about 30 minutes to prepare during Church), and it made me realize how glad I am that we have conference this week! The speakers in conference have been thinking of and preparing for the past 6 months, and our job is to listen and follow their counsel. I have yet to write down my 3 questions, but I know that whatever they are, I will have them answered.
Have a wonderful week, peoples! Conference is coming, so get excited (Oh, Sarah.)! I love you and pray for you every day. And the Lord hears our prayers! Tchau.
-Elder Carpenter

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Forever Families

The branch is pretty small here.  I think there´s about 10ish primary age kids, but not all of them are there every week. I don´t think they do the Primary program here, but I sure wish they did! Those were definately my favorite sacrament meetings back at home. How is the ward doing on kids by the way? Last I heard, all the families were moving, and there was like 1 teacher. Eesh!
This last week, was not the best , but it was still good. We spent a lot of our time teaching recent converts and helping them get to know more about the Church. Right now, we´re just trying to find new people to teach. We´re planning an activity with the branch for this saturday, where every family will bring something to eat and a guest. So, we´re gonna baptize these people! Other than that, we are still teaching the one family (they´ve already come to Church 3 times). The parents need to get married, and we´re trying to convince the mom to let her 13 and 12 year old daughters to get baptized. She wants them to wait til they´re 14 or 15, but we´ll see what´ll happen. With the Lord on our side, nothing is impossible! When we asked the mom to say the closing prayer, she reluctantly accepted. She prayed that everything would go well for her to get baptized and to know that the Church is true. Opa!
Other than that, this is the last week of the transfer, so we´re trying to finish strong! This Sunday, our gospel principles lesson was about eternal families. It was a really neat lesson from a Irmã Laldenir. Lots of the recent converts and other people are the only members in their families, and it´s kind of a touchy subject to talk about with them. It made me EXTREMELY grateful, to know that I can and will be with my family forever! To know that we are all doing our best in order the meet that goal, and that I love my family with all of my heart. I know that it may not show at times, but the mission has certainly made me realize how important family is. I´m actually starting to tear up right now, so it´s a good thing that this is an email. Never take family for granted! It´s the most important thing in life, so thank you for being my family. With that, have a wonderful week! I love you!
-Elder Carpenter
Photos: 1) Churrasco that we were invited to at the house of Lucicléia (the Indian that we baptized). 2) A cajú fruit with the little cashew nut on top. 3) Junior and I. Junior is the 18 year old in the branch that is getting ready to leave on his mission. We have had some good times together. Womp!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Love all the news!

Wow! Talk about news! Taleah had yet another fat baby! Oh my gosh. That´s 4. I didn´t even know that Kade and Summer were dating again, but congrats on the engagement! Congrats to Bryan on going to the temple!
 Here in Ji-Paraná we had an interesting week. We got to go to ULBRA (Universidade Luteriano do Brasil) last Friday (and again this Wednesday) to do a Church presentation for their religions class. We got there and were kind of nervous, because we had no idea what to expect. Their was this crazy Presbiterian preacher talking up in front of the class (it was a lecture hall, but really small; like 30ish people) about all sorts of blasphemy and things that they misinterpret from the Bible. He was saying that people don´t need to be baptized in water, etc, etc. Then, we get up and the professor is like,"Explain the basic doctrines, and talk about the three degrees of glory, baptisms for the dead, and eternal marriage. So... We explained all of those things, but only after explaining the Restoration, Plan of Salvation, and the gospel. Basically, we just talk the first 3 lessons really fast. And all of the girls were asking all sorts of questions about marriage and whether or not you can marry with Non-Mormons. So yeah, we were keeping our distance afterwards. It was good thing and they gave us gifts: zipper ties! Our recent converts will look good with them this next Sunday.
Elder Santana and I made a goal to stop drinking Coke, except at churrascos. This is a good goal! Coke is really bad for you, but it´s also the preferred drink of all Brazilians. Everyone in the branch is divided between people that drink Coke, and those that don´t. It´s kind of funny. So, we´re trying to be good examples and help out our bodies. It´s gonna be good!
Other than that, nothing much is new here. We´re teaching a family that has come to Church a couple of times. The two daughters, 13 and 12 years old, were set to get baptized but the mom didn´t let them. But now, they are showing interest again, but this time the mom is taking the lead. They lived in a house where their neighbors talked really bad about the Church, but thankfully they have moved, come to Church, and seen that we don´t worship the devil. The mom is reading the Book of Mormon a lot, and we´re taking things slow with them, so that she doesn´t jump ship again. Things are going good though!
Pictures: 1) Fancy pants Churrasco in Vilhena, where we ate lunch with President Oliveira. 2) Baptism of David (The sun was in our faces). 3) and 4) ULBRA, the University that everyone talks about here.
Have a wonderful week! The Church is true and I love all of ya!
-Elder Carpenter

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I got to do the baptism!

Womp womp womp womp! I can´t believe that Bryan already has his mission call! What a dog. Houston, Texas South and speaking Spanish and everything. What a gangster. That is the exact same mission that Kool-Aid is going to at the end of this month! I´m gonna write him a letter today and tell him the good news.

Here in Ji-Paraná, the Lord has heard our prayers because we got some rain!! There were 3 days where it rained last week, and it was much needed. Last week was incredibly hot. Probably the hottest in my mission so far, so the rain was awesome. It´s actually cooled down quite a bit and there is luscious wind during the day. And I´m not sweating when I wake up at night!

We had a baptism this Sunday too: David. He´s a friend of one of the members. He came to Church last Sunday, we taught him everything during the week, and then he got baptized yesterday. That is how it´s done here in Brazil! David´s a really funny kid. He´s kind of like the one kid in school that never talks and he´s really quiet at home, but once he´s outside of those two places he´s kind of goes nuts. He´s got this funny deep, nasally voice because he´s going through "the change." Anyways, he´s turning 15 this month, and he´s really excited to be a member of the church. He´s ready to change and do whatever is needed. Womp!

So funny story: He chose me to baptize him, so we´re in the water, and after the first dunk, he didn´t bend his knees and didn´t go all the way down. So, I´m like,"Don´t worry, we´re gonna do it again. Don´t be nervous," (because he was pretty nervous). Then, he grabs his nose and was about the throw himself back, or in other words, baptize himself alone. I stopped him ("Não, não! Calma!") and then baptized him and everything was good. Basically, you just had to be there.

Yep, we´re having a good time here in Ji-Paraná! The branch is getting more excited to have growth and just overall more happy. There´s even a sister that got up at the pulpit and bore her testimony and said that she had a feeling the other day that something spectacular is about to happen in Ji-Paraná! I don´t think that she has the right to receive revelation for the branch, but who am I to talk. Só batize!

Have a good week, everybody! Happy Labor Day, too! I´m happy to know that the Lord is taking good care of everyone!
Com amor,
Elder Carpenter