Monday, October 31, 2011

10/31/11 Letter

Sorry this is late, but we have been super busy during our P-Day today, so I only have like 5 minutes to write to yall.

This last week was NUTS!! Craziness all around. Yesterday, the ward Universitário divided into 2 wards! We are now in Ala Pioneiros (Pioneers Ward) and Elder Ertel and Stipanich are in Ala Universitário. It was super cool because the members are pumped to get things going again to divide these two wards as soon as possible. Things are heating up! President and Sister Oliveira came for the special event and it´s definately a good thing that we had a baptism for them to watch. Hahahaha. Elder Menezes got to have his first baptism in the field! It´s so exciting. His name is Guilherme and he´s a friend of Antonio Iverson, who´s going off on his mission on Nov. 17th. That family is awesome and is starting to baptize their friends now. Guilherme is 16 and a really good, goofy kid. He basically acts just like Mark Cooley, hahaha. We taught him this week and we´d ask him "Guilherme, are you excited for your baptism?" to which he´d respond, "Uh... yeah. I thinhk so." Did you really have to think about that one? He´s bomb though, and now we´re trying to teach the rest of his family. Also, Sunday was nuts because this entire week has been flaming Cuiabá hot, and then there was a freak lightning storm Saturday night and then it started pouring Sunday morning from 2:30 until 10ish in the morning. So, not everyone came to Church that we wanted, but we still had some investigators. We´re working and getting everyone baptized! Woot. Have a wonderful week! See you all later. Have a happy Halloween!
-Elder Carpinteiro

Fotos: Guilherme´s Baptism, President Oliveira with friend (who just HAPPENS to be Elder Menezes´ uncle), and Pizza Hut (yes it exists in Brazil but it´s super expensive)!!
Brazilian Fact: Brazilians don´t celebrate Halloween!


10/24/11 letter

Beloved Family,

This week was super exciting. We got some news here in the ward, so we´ll be working our bums off this week, finding people to go to Church! We had some interesting experiences as well. During lunch last week, Irmão Rodolfo told us to visit his neighbors that live in front because they are parents of a member in another ward. Here´s the thing though: they have a Centro Espírita (Spirit Center) next door to their house, which they are in charge of (where they do funny spirit rituals and whatnot). We invited them to Church and they came! Invite everyone to come unto Christ. They don´t plan on changing their religion, but at least they are open to learning more about ours. 

We´ve been kind of a dead-end with our investigators this week.  One of them who was really interested, Romys, is actually moving back to his small town where they don´t have the Church. He´s a good kid, but we´re sad that he´s leaving and didn´t get baptized. The family that came to Church last week has shown that they want to rely on the world rather than in God. We decided to do a fast and ask the Lord for some help. There is a young man named Antonio in the ward who is going on his mission in less than a month, and we´ve been teaching two of his friends. On Sunday morning, we were going by to pick people up to go to Church, but nobody was coming. After nobody had come (except for the spirit couple), we only had Antonio to rely on. And he came through and brought his to friends to Church! Milagres acontecem. Guilherme, who´s 16, is all firm and set to get baptized next week, and Wesley wants to get baptized as well, except that his family is super Catholic. We´ll be working with both of them, and trying to find new people as well. I know that fasting is a true principle of the gospel! When we do our part, then the Lord will always do His.

Love you all! Have a marvelous week. Voces são os caras!

-Elder Smush

Brazilian Fact: Brazilians like eating persimmons! They are like sweet tomatoes.

Fotos: Elder Menezes with my glasses. What a stud.

Monday, October 17, 2011

10/17/11 letter

Family,

Neato! Baby showers. Halloween is coming! Glad to hear all the good news, Seth is going in to a new house, Grandma´s house is cleaner, and ASU is not doing so hot on the field. Puxa vida! Sweetness.

Hey, so we´re out of time and need to go, but we had a good week. We´ve been working hard and trying to find new people to teach, because Romys is being kind of mully. This awesome sister in our ward took us to teach her neighbors who have been going through some crazy family problems and the parents and one of the daughters came to Church. Now, we´re helping them to be happy and have the gospel in their lives. Elder Ertel and Stipanich had a baptism of Elza yesterday. She is an amazing older lady, and was the most elect person that I´ve had the opportunity to interview. Elza is the most loving person and she has such a desire to follow Jesus Christ. She was so happy at her baptism. Elza actually met us in the street (last transfer when I was on a division with Elder Stuart) and talked to us and bought us some cake at the bakery. Then, she finally was able to come to Church and be baptized in the true Church of Jesus Christ. We need to find more people like Elza, and I´m sure that they are all around us. Have a great week! I love you all tons!

-Elder Carpenter

Brazilian Fact: When it´s your birthday sometimes you get presents, but the only real thing guaranteed is a gigantic cake!
Photos: Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and 
preach the gospel to every creature."


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

10/10/11 letter

  • Wassup!
Hey there, pals! October Break is officially here and to celebrate I´ll be helping people in their search for salvation. Score! Matt is practically home now! Gah! Mom, stop saying that cilantro is gross. I LOVE cilantro, because people use it all the time in the beans or salad, and it just makes everything better. But, I´m happy that you are at least eating cilantro when forced to.

My kid´s name is Elder Menezes! The kid is awesome and he´s a great missionary. He´s a surfer from Recife (which is up top on the coast of Brazil) that lived 5 minutes from the beach. He reminds me a lot of Californians (no offense intended Mike, I like Californians!). Elder Menezes is the oldest of 3 kids and both of his parents served in the Brazil Fortaleza Mission. And they are good friends of Presidente Oliveira, so Elder Menezes already knew President before the mission. Womp womp womp! As you can see in the picture, Elder Menezes looks kind of like Randy Cox, but is a bit crazier. He´s super easy to get along with and everyone loves him. We´re gonna work wonders here in Universitário!

We had kind of a half-week of work, since the newbies got here on Wednesday, and then we had a meeting that afternoon with all of the newbies and the trainers. We´ve never done that before, so we had a good time getting the basics down about and mission and how we teach. Then, we´ve been visiting some investigators that Elder Stuart and T. Silva were teaching, but they all turned mully. And we were kind of lost during the week since neither of us were here before, but things are getting on the road now. Romys came to Church (he is a member´s friend that already came once before) and we taught him yesterday. It was a sweet lesson! He´s actually super smart and I felt like I was teaching him things that he already knows. Romys was doubting because he´s already read the Book of Mormon and prayed, but nothing ever happened. We talked to him and found out that he was expecting something BIG, like Joseph Smith´s answer, to which we explained that usually our answers come in a much simpler form. Normally we have thoughts and feelings of the Spirit that will tell us if something is true or not. We´ll be visiting him tonight to help him out. We´re excited to see what happens.

Then we had another surprise on Sunday! This guys came to our chapel and wanted to get baptized. So, we talked with him, and he´d already come to Church and was taught by the missionaries a few months ago. We had a conversation with him and then did the interview and he was all set and willing to obey the commandments on got baptized! All out of nowhere. He lives in Elder Ertel and Stipanich´s area (the same ward as us) so they´ll be working with him and teaching him new things and getting to work with Geziel´s mom and sister. Crazy! He´s a really good-hearted guy that´s just kind of weird. But he´s so happy to be a member and keep following Jesus Christ. 

Have a wonderful week folks! October Break! That´s where it´s at. Love ya!
-Elder Carpenter

Fotos: Elder Menezes!
Campo Grande Fact: Almost nobody in Campo Grande has seen the beach before!
 

Friday, October 7, 2011

10/3/11 letter

Dear Fam,

Hey, so the computer just erased my letter up until now, and I don´t have the patience or time to write everything again. Thanks for the conference commentaries! We were super busy on Saturday and didn´t get to watch any of the sessions, but we did watch Sunday! Yay for Dallin H. Oaks and his awesome talk about following Christ! All of the talks were centered on missionary work and basic principles, which I thought was great. Not as much fun for old members, but wonderful for investigators and recent converts.

We had a good last week. Tieme, who is a member´s 9 year old niece, was all set to be baptized this Sunday. We´ve been teaching her and resolving ALL of her many doubts. I don´t think that I´ve met a 9 year old who is so smart. She pays attention to EVERYTHING that we say. But, her grandma is Catholic and kind of exploded on Saturday saying that Tieme is too young and doesn´t know what she wants in life and that she can´t get baptized right now. In reality, we already got permission from Tieme´s dad (since he´s the legal guardian) but grandma had to go in and mess things up. But, we´re working on making the grandma happy and let her know that Tieme is more than ready.

We spent lots of time visiting new and old investigators, and found a lady named Ruth. She goes around in a wheel chair and has had a stroke, so she basically uses just one arm and has little control over her right arm and legs. Ruth´s is a super sweet old lady and she didn´t want to go to Church because she was afraid that people would make fun of her in her wheelchair. We assured her that that wouldn´t happen, and reluctantly she came to conference with us. Ruth loved conference!! She loved that nobody asked her for money (like many churches do) and that it was so calm and peaceful. Now we´re helping her to be baptized on Sunday. Ruth is a such a loving person and it seems like she was just waiting for someone to come and invite her to Church.

In other news, we had transfer calls last night. Womp! The Zone Leaders will be going to a different area in our zone to help them out, and I´ve been called as District Leader and will be training again. This is the 3rd time! Rapaz. Trainings, practices, and follow up, hoo-ha! So, I´m super excited to be with the super-pumped greenie (who´s Brazilian by the way) and get things going. We´ll be in the Zone Leaders´ area, which I don´t know very well, so it´ll just be a new everything! Elder Stipanich is still gonna be in the same house with Elder Ertel. I´m so excited because Stipanich has been one of my all-time favorite companions. And now he´s gonna be old and have to help out the newby, hahahaha. It´ll be exciting.

Everybody have a marvelous week. October Break is around the corner! And Christmas for that matter. Start playing Christmas music, just like all of those crazy Americans. Hey there is another Arizona elder who will be going home on Wednesday. His name is Elder Williams and he´s from Mesa, but went to Mountain View. Gag... But maybe you´ll get to know him! I think that I talked to him twice during the mission. Love you guys!

-Elder Carpenter

Brazilian Fact: Peach = Pêssego and Raspberry = Amoura
Fotos: Gigantic 3.3 liter of Guaraná Antartica soda!
 

9/26/11 letter

Hello Friends at Home,

Conference is coming! Conference is coming! Get ready everybody.

Talk about a crazy week! We had 4 baptisms on Sunday! Elder Stipanich and I are on fire! Our week was us running around every day and teaching people. On Thursday night, we had a sudden big rainstorm. At the time, we were at Jose´s house teaching him and his two kids, Patrik and Kaique. While it was raining, the lights starting going out, and then everything went back to normal. And on Friday, it rained ALL DAY. It was actually pretty nice because then the sun went away for awhile. But, we taught Jose and his family every day last week and they just love the gospel and are progressing really fast. And Patrik and Kaique (who are 11 and 9), are obsessed with Dragonball Z, so I drew them a few pictures. My many hours spent drawing Dragonball Z pictures have finally come in handy! But, there were no hangups or anything until their baptisms on Sunday. They were so excited, that during church they would ask every 15 minutes or so, "Is it time for our baptisms?" Gotta love those guys!

Then, we had the miracle baptism! Last week, we talked to this guy in the street but never went to teach him until last Wednesday. His name is Genaro and he has one leg! Turns out that he´s already been to Church a couple of times, so we taught him and he REALLY wanted to be baptized. He´s 63 and lived in Paraguay for a little while, so he has a weird accent that makes him sound Mexican. But, we helped him out all week and he was baptized on Sunday. Genaro was even talking during Gospel Principles, "I´ve already been baptized in the Catholic Church, but now I want to be baptized in this one." Womp! He was. We had to have the help of Elder Stuart to baptize him (since he´s kind of a big guy and has one leg), and I also got in the font to make sure that he didn´t slip or anything. Woot.

We´re pretty excited and ready to go find more people to teach and baptize! Elder Stipanich is practicing his English with Elder Stuart and I. We´re convinced that he needs to be fluent at the end of the transfer. Now Elder Stipanich says things like, "I´m not going to fight against the crown anymore," and "Quit following me, you stalker." We´re very happy with his progress. And don´t think that we´re just teaching him stupid phrases, because he´s learning how to speak good English as well. Love you all! Have a wonderful week and let´s go listen to our prophet (1 Nefi 22: 2-3) and apostles and leaders of the Church! Take a friend with you!

-Elder Carpenter

Brazilian Fact: Rock in Rio is this week! Lots of famous artists are doing gigantic shows in Rio de Janeiro!

Fotos: Big ol´ Baptism! Our district at the Coke factory that we visited today! We got to see how they manufacture coke bottles and all sorts of things.