Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/21/11 letter

What an exciting week you have all had! Thanksgiving is on its way as well! Hip hip hooray!
As always, the first week of a transfer is kind of nuts, and this one was no exception. On Monday night, we had some elders sleep over at our house (since our house is a street away from the Bus Terminal in Campo Grande) since they missed their buses. Gah! I hate having so many messy people in a house that want to eat all of your food. Caidaço. But, they left early in the morning, so that was good.

Tuesday, we had a short meeting with our new ward mission leader: Danny! Danny is awesome. He served his mission in Manaus (which is the Amazon rainforest mission) and he´s helping us to make this ward grow and get even better than it already is. We went and taught Jair and Eva (their granddaughters got baptized last week) and Danny helped us out a ton. He bore a powerful testimony that helped Jair decide to get baptized. "How can I support my granddaughters in doing what´s right, if I myself don´t follow?" That is what I´m talking about Jair. 

Wednesday, I did a division with Elder Stuart which was bomb. We taught Guilherme and Thais´ mom, but unfortunately she´s got her heart in her other Church. At least she supports her kids and wants them to keep going to Church. But wake up! Your evangelical Church is a joke! But, everyone has their agency. We taught a member´s friend as well, whose name is Maria (go figure). She´s a sweet lady, but is a little slow. We´re helping her out.

Thursday, we got stuck at lunch for forever, while the other companionship taught Sister Maria Lúcia´s neighbor who came to lunch (and church!). Lots of things didn´t go as planned , but we went to our most important committment: Jair! Jair´s son tried to question us about some stuff, but the poor guy doesn´t even know what´s in the Bible. Don´t worry, there was no contention nor Bible bashing, just a calm explaining of things as they really are. Eva insists that we baptize this son of hers before she gets baptized. But, the guy doesn´t even want to learn with us! We have a challenge on the horizon.

Friday, the big day! Elder Bednar stopped by in Cuiabá and we got to watch the transmission of our 3 and a half hours with him. He is the most calm, forward, and direct person that I think I´ve ever seen. Elder Bednar had us ask him questions as well as conversing with the Elders in Cuiabá. It was an open air discussion, and he kept asking us, "What do you notice about the form of this meeting?" He was teaching us that we need to TEACH people and not just spout out information at them and expect them to be "taught." And to ask questions that make people think and learn at the same time. Elder Bednar laid down the law in quite a few areas where we have old Mormon traditions as well. Like the practice of writing down everything that people say and then never reading the notes again. We need to take note of our feelings, impressions of the Spirit, and what we have learned. It was amazing! Sadly, the transmission was not so hot, so I hope that they recorded it in Cuiabá. Having an apostle in our mission has surely helped me out and I have felt and seen many things that I need to improve on. And I know that this is just the beginning! Gah!

Saturday was a big ol´mess of interviews and quick visits to people to see who would go to Church and who wouldn´t.

Sunday was equally hectic. We had to call for last minute rides to take all of the girls to the Church to get confirmed (since Sacrament Meeting starts at 9 now with the new ward). But they all got confirmed! And we had plenty of investigators at Church. Best of all was Jair´s baptism after Church! His family was so excited and happy. We invited Gleidson to baptize him, because we love Gleidson. He´s only been a member for 4 months and he just ordained as Elder and called as the ward secretary. Yes! At night, we visited Sueli, whose kids came to Church with their member neighbors. Sueli is a perfect example of love! She takes care of her blind, memory stricken, and humble mom all day. We taught them the Restauration and after the first vision, we asked her if she believed that God answers prayers. Sueli said that after we passed by on Saturday, she prayed to know if this was the right path for her and her kids. She felt that if her kids came home happy, then she would know that it was what they were needing. Willian and Beatriz (her kids) came home bundled with joy and Sueli knew that this truly is the Church of Jesus Christ! Now they´ve accepted for us to help them get baptized!

Yet another hectic week is on the horizon, but I wouldn´t trade it for anything. This is the best ward that I´ve ever been in and it´s because they members make all the difference. Inviting their friends to Church and not being ashamed to talk about the gospel. Vamos avante nessa obra! Love ya! Did you know that you are my favorite family ever?

-Elder Carpenter

Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/14/11 letter

Dearest Family,

Happy Birthday to Sarah! Yip yip hooray! Congrats on getting all of the free things that you could! That´s how we do it. And mother has even overcome her fear of touching cilantro just to make your special dinner! Congratulations. I love cilantro by the way .

Elder Menezes and I had a pretty booked week. Wow! We had 3-4 houses to visit every day. Our schedule went like this: 4:15 to 5 we would wait and then teach Daniel (who is a recent convert´s grandson that went to Church), 6ish was when we tought Thaís (who is Guilherme´s sister), 7:30 is our time to teach Jair and Eva along with their 3 granddaughters (who came to Church), and sometimes 8:30 we taught Romano, who is Rodolfo´s dad. Whew! Talk about walking fast. If any of the visits took too long, then it would make everything late. Gah! But it´s all good. 

Our week was awesome though. Thais is BFF with a member and so teaching her was super simple. She was already living the commandments and just has a strong desire to do what´s right and follow Christ. We would include Thais´ mom so that she could see that what we´re teaching her is good and healthy. It was cool because the member family that lives right next to them is about to send their missionary off on Thursday, so we invited Antonio to baptize Thais. That lucky duck got to baptize on his last sunday at home! Now he´s off to baptize more people in São Paulo.

The other family that we´re teaching is AMAZING! The members taught with us EVERY single day because they´re all so awesome. We´ve been teaching the 3 granddaughters with their grandparents and they´re all so cool and happy to be doing the right things. One of the granddaughters, Ana, is 9 and actually lives with her parents behind her grandparents house (but her grandma is the legal guardian and the one who has raised them all). But Ana´s mom has been going to the dark side and told Ana that she would buy her a notebook computer if she didn´t get baptized. What?!?! But Eva (the grandma) is amazing and told her what´s up. And Ana´s mom has actually listened to our lessons on Friday and Saturday. Now, we´re helping the grandparents stop smoking and have the grandpa give the JW´s the boot and stop visiting him! Yes. 

Sadly, Daniel, who´s recent convert grandma has a ticket to the celestial kingdom for all that she´s through, 8 was taught and interviewed, but on Sunday gave up on getting baptized. We´re still not too sure of what happened, because we sat and tried to get him to come out for a while and just his brother came out to give lame excuses to us. We´re praying to know what to do with him.

In all, it was an amazing week! I couldn´t have asked for a better birthday present than being a part of the Lord´s work in bringing these people to his kingdom. We even ate gigantic pastels to celebrate the big day. The Lord is blessing us and we´ll be staying another transfer together! Elder Ertel is off to be a district leader in another area and Elder Stipanich will be with Elder Wanderley. Perseverar até o fim Stipanich! Love ya! Happy Veteran´s Day!

-Elder Carpenter

Fotos: Frafiti of Tereré, Thais and Guilherme and mom, The Jair Tribe consisting of Nathália, Alexia, Ana, and wife Eva!


11/7/11 letter

Olá Família,
Obrigado pela parabén por meu aniversário! Imma be 21! We were all gonna go out and get a drink to celebrate since I´ll be 21 and all, but then I realized that you only have to be 18 to drink in Brazil! So we are going bump the party up to tonight. But, happy birthday to Sarah! Use the birthday bear for me.
What an upside-down confusing week that we´ve had. We´ve been teaching this guy named Carlos all week. He came to Church and is in the process of moving to another state, but is staying in a hotel waiting for his giant Diesel to get registered so he can hit the road to Goias! But, Carlos is great because he gives us free food and does nothing all day so he would read the Book of Mormon. Carlos is REALLY smart and I felt like I was teaching somebody normal for a change! When he found out that he would be staying for the weekend during his long wait, we invited him to get interviewed and baptized, so he was interviewed on Saturday but REFUSED to be baptized this week. He´s convinced that he needs to do it in Goias, but by that time the devil will have already taken his soul down to the pit of misery and endless woe! Gah. We got sad, but not given up.
On Sunday, we had our first meetings of the Ala Pioneiros and a whopping 8 investigators! The members are awesome and brought their friends that we´ve been teaching to Church! Yes. One is a cool family that we started teaching. The grandma is a haircutter and pretty Catholic but willing to change ("I believe a lot in Saint Mary... blah blah blah."), but Eva is awesome because she let her granddaughters come to Church even though she couldn´t. They are 13, 12 and 9 and they watched the baptisms of Elder Ertel and Stipanich and almost cried! Wow. The little one who´s 9 said, "If I could I would get baptized right now!" That´s what I´m talking about. Guilherme´s sister came to Church to watch his confirmation and she´s all BFF with another young women in the ward and is getting baptized on Sunday! There is gonna be a line to get in the water this Sunday! We´re working with other people and making the best of the excitement in the ward. I´m so happy!
And (drumroll)...  Elder Bednar is coming to visit Cuiabá this month! He´s probably gonna get things straight and tell the members and missionaries to work so that President Oliveira can divide this stake before he leaves. Sadly, I don´t think I´ll be there but he´s gonna do a training thing with the missionaries and all of us in the south get to watch it via satelite. He´s gonna do an open-air question time, but I haven´t thought of anything yet. Help me out!
Best week to everyone! Until we meet again!
-Elder Carp.
Brazilian Fact: The Brazilian Flag looks awesome on a pumpkin!