Tuesday, November 30, 2010

News from Tijucal

Querida Família,

What is up folks! I hope that all is well in Zion. Based on what Mom has told me, Black Friday was insane. Midnight shopping! I´m glad that everyone got some good deals.

I´m also happy that everyone ate turkey for me. I feel better now.

Here in Tijucal, I´m officially getting popular with all the sisters in the ward. Everybody wants the latest hit: COOKIES! I made choco-chip cookies one time for this AMAZING member family that lives next door to us because their dog dies, and then everyone is wanting some. I´ve made 3 or 4 batches this past week. We made some with Andre´s family (he wasn´t there), so that they would like us and hopefully stop being mean to André. They loved it! Then, they invited us to a birthday party there, where they had a churrasco, with lots of meat, coke, and cake. As for André, he´s supposed to get home this week, and then hopefully getting baptized on Sunday. We´re hoping for the best.

Then, there is this Young Women´s fireside on Friday, and they have chosen me to play the piano for them. The thing is... it´s kind of hard to play random music when you have no time to practice. The good thing is: I´m playing the piano again! Yay. They had me play the organ at church, and it was... good. Let´s just say, I´m glad mom wasn´t there, hahaha. But, they´re supposed to get me the hymns beforehand if they want me to play again, so next week should sound much better. All the years of practice are paying off!

We had this recent convert´s friend at Church this Sunday, Jenifer, and we´re hoping that she´ll get baptized this Sunday. She´s 19 but is really short and skinny. She´s never been baptized before, but really liked church this Sunday. So, we´re gonna be working with her and her grandma this week. We´re actually taking them an FHE tonight. Irmã Luza, one of the coolest sisters that I´ve met on the mission, is making me a birthday cake for tonight! I´m so excited.

And today, we went on a hunt for crocodiles. The other missionaries in our house have this one family that they baptized their kids (the parents aren´t married), and they made us lunch. Behind their house is a canal and then just... jungle. They´re always talking about the crocodiles that live there, but the biggest one I´ve seen was just a little over a foot long. A lil baby guy! So, Elder Allred and I went and crossed the canal to look for crocodiles. We didn´t find any, sadly, but we did find a river! I didn´t have my camera, so I only took a picture with the cell phone. It was totally worth it though! We kind of got lost on the way back, but found our way home. We´ll keep looking, because I know the crocodiles exist.

Welp, that´s all the news I´ve got. Have a fantastic start of Christmas! You officially have my permission to start listening to Christmas music. Get in the spirit! The only thing I ask, is for journal entries/stories of the missionaries from our family during/on Christmas. I like hearing these things. Have a jolly week!

E. Carpenter

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving,
We live in a house with the Zone Leaders for Zona Industriário! It´s way cool here. We still walk everywhere, but thankfully almost everybody lives much, much closer and not far from our house. It´s awesome. Most of the members have cars, too, so if we go to teach people with them, then they give us rides. Our ward is Ala Tijucal with Bispo Luciano.
This last week was awesome, up until Saturday. Every day this week, we´ve been teaching Irmão André, the guy that came to Church last Sunday. He´s 66 and stopped drinking about 3 months ago. His family situation is pretty tricky. He pays for his house and his daughter that lives next door. They are always arguing with him, and he and his wife sleep in separate rooms. But, things seemed to be getting better. His wife even mae us lunch last week.So he was dead set and excited to get baptized on Sunday! We´d been visiting him with all sorts of members, and he passed the baptismal interview and everything. When we went to visit him on Saturday, he was really upset. When he told his family that he was going to be baptized and start paying tithing, they flipped out. They were already barely talking with him, but this sent him over the edge. He wanted to leave the house and never come back. Sheesh. After we got there, he calmed down, but still said that he was going to go to be with his brother for 40 days. Sunday morning, we got some members, and went to sing a hymn for him and bring him to Church. André cried during the song, but didn´t come to Church. So... he was doing better, but is still planning on going to his brothers house this Wednesday, and then stay there for a week. He still wants to get baptized and said that I have to be the one to baptize him. So, we marked his baptism for the 5th of December, after he comes home. Thankfully, we´re gonna do an FHE with him tonight, and then bring the bishop to his house tomorrow to talk with André´s wife. He´s really wanting the bishop to help them out, so we´re doing our best. We were really sad that this happened, but are still hopeful that his baptism will happen.
That was a huge paragraph. Well, that´s about it for now! We´re happy here and finding new people to teach everyday. Elder Leal is really funny. He´s really talkative and likes to call me to repentence all the time "Arrependa-se!" It´s like his catch phrase. We´re helping each other to make contacts fun in the street.
There was another baptism this week from the other companionship. There was this lady that came to Church 2 weeks ago, and had an interesting story. She had apparently had a dream in which she saw the chapel and 3 young men in white shirts and ties. Then, she was walking on the street one Sunday morning, and actually saw that exact image but in real life! So, she walked up and asked someone about the Church. To make a long story short, her husband and her got baptized yesterday, and their daughter will be baptized next week. It´s amazing how the Lord prepares people!
Have a wonderful thanksgiving! We passed by a farm this last week and took pictures of a turkey, lamb, pigs, and horses. In honor of Thanksgiving,  Eat enough for me back at home!
Elder Carpinteiro

Monday, November 15, 2010

New everything!

Hola Familiares,
Happy Birthday Sarah! Woot. Woot. There´s nothing like yet another birthday! Ha. For my birthday, things were kind of crazy, but I ate a whole lot of cheese bread. It was good stuff. And it was a cold day in Cuiabá! Miracles do happen. And, there is a sister in the ward here that is gonna make me a Late-Birthday Cake! I´m so excited. And thanks for the "birthday card." It officially scared me.
This last week has been quite CRAZY! Let me tell you. So, I got in my new area, Parque Cuiabá, on Tuesday. There were sister missionaries in the area, and 3 out of the 4 of us elders that got in the area were completely lost. My companion, Elder Todaro, had already served there, so he was supposed to help us get to know the branch and everything. However, on Thursday we got a phone call from the assistants and guess what? Emergency transfer! I left with Elder Leal to serve in Tijucal, another area in Cuiabá. Womp! We got to this area, and Elder Allred is the only one that´s been here before. He´s been showing us around and this area is awesome! They have a ward here and a brand new chapel. It´s super nice, most of the members live really close to the church, and our house that we live in is really big. The bishop is really into baptisms and missionary work, too. Our first night here, we had an activity in a neighborhood full of less-actives. It was great, and lots of members were there! It was so exciting.
My companion is Elder Leal. He has about 3 months in the mission and is from Minas Gerais. He´s taller than me (gasp!) and is 21. He served in the army and worked on cars before the mission, but you would never guess. Elder Leal is really talkative and a good comp. He´s excited to teach people and have baptisms. He´s had some rough companions, but is still full of missionary desire!
There is a High Couselor in the ward that brought his friend, Andre, to church yesterday. Andre is probably 70 years old and used to drink a lot. But, he stopped drinking and neglecting his family about 3 months ago, and accepted to get baptized this Sunday! He´s awesome. Andre wants to come to Church every week. And his friend, the high counselor, gave a talk in sacrament meeting and basically taught the first and second lesson. Oh, and all of the speakers used Preach My Gospel in their talks! It was awesome. I have never seen this in all of my time on the mission.
So, yep, I´m pretty excited to be here in Tijucal! This place is great. And I´m pretty sure that it´s cooler here than in Ji-Paraná. Nobody believes me, but that´s because they´ve never been there. I´m not dripping in sweat as I walk in the street here! Well, have a great week! Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming! Get excited.
Lovesies, Elder Carpenter
 snake in the road
 dead dog
 Zach with birthday card
 Cookies and E. Leal
Peeps from Parque Cuiaba

11/8/10 letter

Hey I´m almost 20! That´s not weird at all. I feel exactly the same. I´m planning on buying a pineapple for my birthday and eating the entire thing for myself. There is nothing like pineapple here in Brazil. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Sarah this week as well.

Well, this letter is gonna be super short. My bus leaves in an hour and a half. Our transfer ended yesterday, and now I´m headed off to Cuiabá! The area is called Parquee Cuiabá. We all knew this was coming... The heat... Although, it´s supposed to be cold there right now. I´m SUPER excited to go to another area, but I´m really gonna miss the branch here in Ji-Paraná. Everyone here is so exciting and has attitude. It made for some awesome experiences. Last night, we visited a couple of families from the branch, because they made food. I will miss them.

But yeah, this last week was crappy. Reinaldo is scared of having to keep the Law of Chastity, and so he didn´t get baptized. We tried our best to help him, but he just doesn´t have the desire. So, we lost one, but gained another. We´ve been teaching a family that lives on the street of the church, and the parents are very interested, but there kids are AWESOME! They have been raised really well and read the Book of Mormon every day. One of them bore his testimony at Church! His second time coming there. The mom doesn´t want to let them get baptized til their older, but I´m pretty sure that she can´t hold them back anymore. I think Elder Dorneles has a baptism for this Saturday! He´s really excited to stay here. Well, I´m leaving Rondônia finally, and stepping into Mato Grosso! Have a spectacular week!

Elder Carpenter

Thursday, November 4, 2010

 Irmão Manoel and Emília (They pretty much started the branch here)
chart that shows how Brazilians eat every part of the cow


Halloween!! Here in Brazil they do go all out for Halloween!! Not. There was nothing Halloween-related that happened yesterday, hahaha. There is this one gigantic house in Ji-Paraná that everyone says has a big Halloween party, but even they didn´t do anything special. But, you don´t need Halloween to be happy!

Justin Curtis is already home?! Nuts. And there is a BAPTISM in Mesa!!! I am so excited for you guys. You need to go to it so that she feels really welcome!

This last week was quite intense. Pres. Oliveira was pulling out all of the stops so that EVERYONE in the mission could baptize this week. When it all got down to Sunday, we only had Reinaldo who was ready and excited to get baptized. When we showed up to his house on Sunday morning, we clapped our hands. Waited. Clapped. Waited. Called him, etc, and he was not answering. After going to the Church, we went back to his house and waited until sacrament meeting for him to come out. Nothing. We were really disappointed and sad, because we thought that he had done something that he would regret. We called him later and went to his house, and he spilled the beans. He was at a party with his girlfriend and brother, and (as things always are), it got later and later... Long story short, he was really disappointed with himself because he didn´t go to Church or have his baptism. However, he didn´t drink or do anything stupid. So, he´s gonna get baptized tonight. We´re really excited for him! It was the worst feeling in the world when he didn´t come to Church or his baptism, but everything is good now. We had to be really firm with him, but it looks like everything will work out. Yes!

Well, that´s it for this week.  Have a wonderful week! Enjoy the cold weather. It´s usually raining here once every two days, so things are getting much better. Lovesies!

Com amor,
-Elder Carpenter