Monday, September 19, 2011

9/19/11 letter

Hullo!

The new stake callings and whatnot is kind of crazy. I know a few people in our new stake then, which is good. Our ward seems to be the Universitário of Mesa South! Here in Estaca Campo Grande Monte Líbano (Big Field Mount Lebanon Stake), about half of the stake callings are members of this ward. It´s awesome! Everyone is crazy to baptize and nobody blocks baptisms and people work and give rides to investigators. Amazing! 204 people at Church as well! Let´s get this ward split SOON. I´ve never seen so many people at Church in my time here in Brazil.

Our last week was pretty nuts! We went on lots of divisions with the Zone Leaders (in our house) so that we could teach everyone, since lots of our investigators are only home at night. Out of the nine that came to Church, not all of them were too interested in our message, or "didn´t like Church" (which is a straight up lie), but lots of them were. One of which was Jair. He used to drink EVERY night and smoke a pack of cigarettes per day, but the Lord was helping him until he had stopped using these harmful substances and he got interviewed on Saturday and passed. But, Satan is real good at tempting people, and Jair fell into temptation. So... we´ll be helping him this week. 

During the week, we´ve been teaching Ivaldo and Ilza, too. They are a couple (that´s legally married!) who loved Church, but have some things to work out before they are "ready" to be baptized. We had some really neat lessons with them including one with Ivaldo´s old friend, Armando, who is the 1st Counselor in the ward. Talk about a spiritual lesson! Irmão Armando can bear a strong testimony. I´m sure that Ivaldo and Ilza will get baptized, but there are some family situations going on that have postponed things.

And the winner of the week was Guilerme! Guilerme a 9 year-old cousin of a member family. We´ve been teaching him but had trouble finding his mom at home, so that we could talk with her. Everyone told us "she won´t let him get baptized" and all sorts of things, but she actually is a really cool lady. She accepted for him to be baptized and it happened last night! Woo hoo! Party.

Then, we had a family come to Church yesterday, consisting of José (dad), Patrick (11 year old son), and Caic (8 year old son). They have a complicated family, and José´s son was killed a few weeks ago, but now they want to turn their lives around. José LOVED Church and practically asked us to help him get baptized. Next Sunday is the date! Yes yes yes. He´s already putting a stop to the cigarettes and next up is coffee. We´re super excited for this week and we´ll make sure to bring plenty of members to get to know them.

I´m glad to hear that the sisters are baptizing back at home! Make sure to offer a time when you can visit these recent-converts and future baptisms with the sisters.They need willing people to help them! Members make all of the difference. And I´m sure that they would LOVE references. Whenever people ask about the Church, talk to them and invite them to learn more through the message that the missionaries have. We need to be happy and open as members of the Lord´s Church! Keep the Emerald Acres missionary spirit burning!

I love you all and thanks for the love and support and for being the best family ever. 

-Elder Carpenter

Fotos: Guilerme with his fam and then with the Elders!
 

 

Friday, September 16, 2011

9/12/11 Letter

Famílio,
 
Change is always good!! WOW! Sounds like quite the craziness is going on back at home. Mesa South Stake will never die! Sounds really exciting though! It´ll be good to have some new people to get to know. That just made my day. I´m sure that the new change will be great!

Yeah, it was kind of sad remembering about the 9/11 attacks, but it´s good to know that the US is still going strong! Lots of people asked me if I was in the towers when they got attacked or if Arizona is in New York. Hahahaha. "Arizona is on the OTHER side of the country" I had to tell them. God bless the USA!
 
Things have been heating up here in Universitário! While it rained a few days last week (a MUCH needed rainfall because of all the dust in the air), we´ve been working like crazy. Our ward mission leader, Josimar, told us to expand our vision so that we could bring more people to Church, do family nights with the members and get references. That´s what we did! We are re-activating this family, and we marked a family night at another member´s house and they invited plenty of people! One of which is Irmã Demy´s 9 year-old nephew who has already been to Church many times. His mom wants him to keep coming to Church and we´ll be teaching him so that he can get baptized. Then, we´ve just found some elect people out of the blue and in all we brought 9 people to Church! Woo hoo. New record! Maria Celeste came with her son, Jair. She is really sweet and likes us a lot. I think that she has 7 kids that are all adults, and it´s apparent that they´ve had kind of a rough life. So, we´re helping them to keep the word of wisdom and such, so that they can get baptized.
 
While trying to find some ex-investigators, the address that we went to, turns out that nobody in the house has met the missionaries (I think the former missionaries wrote down the wrong address). The parents came to Church on Sunday and the dad is really liking it, because he apparently has never "stuck" with a religion. All of his daughters go to different Churches, one of which is dating a "pastor-to-be" from the Adventist church. He will give us some work. But Ivaldo and Ilza are elect because they gave us food!
 
Hmmm, we´ve also got some other people that we´re teaching that will hopefully keep interested. One of which is Dina, who has come to Church 3 times already, but insists on learning more and blah blah blah. We took her to a baptism last week, and she LOVED it. Now she needs to just get in the water and have her turn.
 
We had a meeting with President Oliveira this week, which was awesome. He is really enforcing that we be obedient missionaries that KEEP the rules and that we be instruments
in the hands of the Lord. Yes!
 
That´s it for now, folks. Don´t worry, be happy! Let me in on the new stake info! Send a picture of the stake and ward boundaries, if possible, because the names of the streets and whatnot doesn´t really help me out, since I´ve forgotten everything about Mesa. Thanks! Love ya lots.
 
Elder Carpenter
 
Brazilian Fact: Most Brazilians don´t like hot food! Hot sauce/ peppers = pimenta. Everyone tries to tell me that "Oh, that pimenta is really hot, be careful," but it turns out that it´s not really hot at all. Hopefully, I will be able to handle the Mexican hot sauce of Arizona!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

9/5/11 Letter

Querida Família,
 
Estou com saudades de vocês e a comida americana e alemã, mas vou comê-la logo. Aleluia senhor! Jenny has finally gotten her paws on a new car! Sweetness. Honda Civics are the way to go. I´ll have to buy a red one once I´m rich so that we can all combine together to make a patriotic haze of Honda Civics on the freeway! That´ll be the day. Best of luck to ClayEva on the car hunt. And thank you so much for feeding the sister missionaries! They need the food. Give them the leftovers and take them to wherever they need to go.
 
This has been yet another stressful week in the mission field. Gah! Do you guys remember Marcellus who came to Stake Conference with us? We have been teaching him all week and it´s been off the walls. First, we had to get the confidence of his parents. We came and taught with a deacon in the ward, came and did a family night with brownies, and many other things. But, the other side also did some crazy work. First off, we came to teach him and a lady from Marcellus´ mom´s church was there and stayed to hear our message. BUT, she started arguing about everything and we showed her scriptures in the Bible to back up what we said (but it wasn´t a Bible bash), and she insisted on flouting off her false doctrine. She left some scriptures for them to read in the Bible to show that we were servants of Satan (scriptures that have NOTHING to do with us, nor do they even apply to missionaries) and that the Book of Mormon was teaching a different gospel than the one that Christ taught. Agh! Then, the pastor said some not-so-nice things and we had to go and fix everything up. It was all good and the mom liked us (because we starting teaching her alcoholic son as well), and then the dad got mad because we had been teaching them every day. On Saturday, we took Marcellus to mutual at the Church and he said that he didn´t want to get baptized on Sunday. We shared a message with him and in the end he was wanting to get baptized the following day. That night, we taught the alcoholic brother again, and chatted with the mom and she said that Marcellus was the one who would decide and that she supported him. And on Sunday morning? Nobody´s home, not even the alcoholic. And nobody accepts our phone calls anymore. Ai ai ai. Then, nobody else came to Church that we had planned to take. There was a crazy lady that came to Church again, but she´s from another Church and another guy came, but has to do some more preparation before getting baptized.
 
The good news though is that the ward is awesome and gigantic! There were 190 people at Church, and they had to tell everyone that only the people on the stand would be able to bear testimonies because there were so many! I felt like I was at home, hahahaha. Everyone is so excited and happy to be a member of the Church! We´re working a lot with the members and teaching their friends and families, and soon enough we´ll get some results. But, basically that was our week: Running around trying to get Marcellus´ baptism to happen, but it wasn´t meant to be. But, we´ve got some good new ideas from the Mission Leader and we´re doing family nights with the members and having them invite their friends.
 
My companion Elder Stipanich is super funny as always. When I talked with him on the phone (since we were on a division) I thought that I was talking to a little kid. Campo Grande is the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul, and the 2nd most tree populated capital in Brazil. There are lots of trees here and even parrots flying around some times. My area has a few hills, which I´ve rarely seen during my mission, and everyone is really nice here. Wherever you go, people will be drinking tereré, which is the cup full of erva (which looks like lawn clippings) and you put ice cold water in and drink it. It´s amazing.
 
About the Paraguay trip! We went to this giant store in Paraguay and everything there was much cheaper and in guarani (which is the monetary system in Paraguay). 2000 guarani = 1 real = 0.60 dollar. Cheap cheap! The Shopping China was gigantic, too. Imagine an IKEA full of imported things from the U.S. and lots of people. It was sweet, but everything was pretty expensive. I bought some Pilot G-2 pens for $2 a piece. We ate at Burger King, too, but to be honest, I didn´t think that it was very good. I realized that I´m used to eating a lot more meat than back at home. Paraguay was pretty cool though. We hardly didn´t have time to do anything there, but we walked around a bit and I ate a churro! Everything´s a bit dirtier there and there are no traffic laws so everyone rides motorcycles without helmets and it´s kind of chaotic. And spanish is really fun to listen to, but a bit difficult to understand. I hope that I get to pass in Ponta Porã, because I need to learn Spanish.
 
This email has turned gigantic, so I´ll have to close it off. Love you family! Have an amazing Labor Day (even though you won´t pick apples). You are the best. Good luck with the Stake divisions (get the Kleenex ready).
 
-Elder Capeta
 

Brazilian Fact: Brazilians love Honda Civics just as much as our family! Although the most common type of car are the Gol and Fiat.
 

8/29/11 Letter

Hullo Folks,

What an action-packed week that it has been! I´m now in Campo Grande! The capital of Mato Grosso do Sul. Things are going great here. We have a gigantic ward and the members are excited and want to divide soon. Our ward mission leader is Josimar, who is the best ward mission leader that I´ve had on the mission! He´s like 23 and SUPER excited and happy to help us baptize here. He served his mission in Recife, Brazil which is a baptizing machine, so he has all sorts of good techniques to find people to teach and whatnot. Our bishop served a mission during the same time as Seth and is very young and excited to help us out.

This last week was Stake Conference, which was weird because I don´t know ANYBODY in the entire stake, let alone the ward that I´m serving in. But, we brought a 12 year old young man to Stake Conference called Marcellus. We met a recent-convert in the park and he was playing soccer with a lot of his friends. Everyone was invited to Church and Marcellus was the only one that really wanted to go. After chatting with his mom (she´d already heard some lies about our Church), she said it was fine if he went. About 30 minutes in to the 2 hour conference, he started asking, "When does this end?" Elder Stipanich and I both looked at each other with "Oh my" in our faces. Thankfully, Marcellus likes Dragonball Z drawings and the dot game. We watched the baptism of the other companionship in our ward and he liked it a lot. Last night, we went with Josimar who is super crazy and STILL remembers all of his missionary techniques from 2 years ago and taught Marcellus´ parents. Now they are our friends and will come to Church this Sunday!

Elder Stipanich is from Santos, São Paulo! His great-grandparents are from Austria which is where he gets his name from. My 12th Brazilian companion! He is 22 years old and has a high-pitched voice, but he is an awesome companion! We get along really well and are gonna start doing crazy things to find people to teach. Elder Daniel Stipanich is super skinny and always talks during the messages and invites everyone to be baptized.

The other day we were talking about how all of our investigators are weird and we feel like we´re in Zombie Land. We visited this ex-investigator, Dina Gelatina, who likes tea and has a little bit of testimony about the Church and whatnot, but won´t accept to get baptized! But she sure loves to talk about tea (there is only one kind of tea in Brazil that is against the WOW). Then, we visited this less-active who is coming back to Church. After he took his time making juice and spilled some on my pants (then offering to have me use a pair of his. No thanks!) we figured out that he was drunk. His prayer after the message was interesting. Hmmm.... we´ve got Marta who is going to get baptized but she´s kind of crazy. If they were to make a movie about her, it would be called 50 Going On 15. That about sums her up. And the best for last is Reginaldo! He´s a guy that asked for the Book of Mormon through the Church website. When we FINALLY found his house in the middle of nowhere, his wife answered and said that they were Evangelical and didn´t want to change religions. We said that she´d asked for a Book of Mormon (because Reginaldo sent his request in her name) and she said, "Oh! That was my husband." Then we met Reginaldo. As he began to explain to us, he is a philosopher and thrives on knowledge. When he saw that there existed an Outro Testamente de Jesus Cristo, he had to get his hands on it. After telling us about his expansive library of knowledge and books that he´s read (the likes of Steven Hawkins and Benjamin Franklin, one of the "former USA Presidents"), he let us teach him about the Restoration. Reginaldo liked it a lot and accepted a date to get baptized and to read the Book of Mormon. We´re going back there this week to see how it´s going. We´re determined to baptize this guy!

 Well, I love you! Stay out of the record heat and get in the A/C! It´s the way to be.

-Elder Carpenter

Fotos: Elder Stipanich teach a rock.  Gigantic cat at lunch.
Brazilian Fact: Salgado = Pastries with meat and cheese inside! Kind of like Hot-Pockets but maybe more healthy.