Monday, January 27, 2014

An Injury

So I got my thumb closed in a car door on Sunday. Today it looks better and during church it looked kind of gray. :S hahaha. Enjoy!

~Elder Wille

Benfica 27-1-2014

Hello there Family! How is everyone doing?

Well, Im here for a 7th week, and things are going to be difficult! Our planners only go 6 weeks with a one-page seventh week to help the transition. So this week, instead of having one page per day, we have one page for 7 days! Oh goody! :D

I did have another experience at that same place that had the hair in the feijoada. They have something called Panelada that Ive always had a curiosity in trying, and they happened to have it. It didnt smell bad, so I gave it a try. It was very... interesting.
Panelada is cow intestine. :D I wanted to try it once in Montese, but when they lifted up the lid a HUGE wave of manure smell met my unfortunate nose and I immediately declinded. This one didnt smell, so I gave it a try. Its very oily and a bit rubbery. I ate 4-5 pieces and then decided I was done, washing it down with some coke like Todd. I took a picture on the cell phone, but cant upload it. :(
Mom, buchada is basically the same, but with goat or some other animal. Or maybe its stomach? Something like that, some organ that normal people dont eat. :P

Well, not much has been happening. We are going to have 2 baptisms this week. We decided to wait another week, which may not have been the best idea. But it will be a good way to end the transfer. :) Could you keep them in your prayers? Thanks!

Um, Im intentionally not saying how much it was. It wasnt huge like the other ones, so I figured I could buy this one. :) But thank you so much! I donated the party stuff to a Sister missionary for her birthday which is coming up. Actually, its exactly next week on Monday, transfer day!

Dad, I know youre excited that Im coming home soon, but you cant get so exicted that you fall off stuff! :D Or you wont be around when I do get home! Hahaha :) Glad that youre doing better,

So Elder Tenney and I are having lots of fun! Hes actually speaking amazingly well. We did a couple of fasts, and his speaking ability is just taking off! He is very diligent in studying the language every day, and its really paying off.
Now for the reason we have fun. We both love Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Batman/Dark Knight, etc etc. I baked some brownies and we got a thing going where we put Brownie into every movie quote. I think it started off with Dark Knight. It went something like this
"Let 'em go"
"Very poor choice of words. :D hahahaha"
"Uhhh Brownies!!!"
After that, it was Star Wars, the last one on the Volcano planet.
"You overbaked them!"
"You have done that yourself"
"You will not make me eat them!"
"Your gluttony and lust for deliciousness have already done that"
And after:
"Anakin, the Pillsberry Dough Boy is evil!"
"From my point of view, Betty Crocker is evil!"
"Well then you are lost!"
We get some really good laughs from one another. Theres the Harry Potter 1 where Hagrid says Youre a Mormon Harry. "Im a what??"
I think we can safely say that we are nerds. But happy nerds. :D Im sad that this transfer is ending. And I gotta go, sorry! I will write next week to those of you I missed! Love you all, tchauuuuuu!

~Elder Wille

Monday, January 20, 2014

Benfica 20-1-2014

Bom dia meus familiares, amigos, e outras pessoas que não falam Brasileiro! :D
Vou enxertar parte da minha carta a Presidente Souza. Mais um milagre.

Esta semana presenciamos um milagre e uma experiência espiritual. Passamos na casa de uma pesquisadora, e ela falou que não podia nos atender no momento, porque a mãe estava muita depressada. Um pensamento passou na minha cabeça de dar uma bênção, mas achei que era só eu, e não atendi. Ao andar, falei para Elder Tenney sobre o pensamento e como deveria ter seguido, e antes de chegar 100 metros da casa, tive a forte impressão que devemos voltar. Não hesitei, voltamos, e a mãe (católica) aceitou immediatamente, e já leu a escritura que tínhamos deixado com a filha. Ela nos recebeu chorando, e acreditava plenamente na bênção. Sentimos o Espírito tão forte. Vamos voltar e ver se nosso serviço ajudou em abrir os corações deles.
Okay, chega do Português. Opa, disculpa. :D Its just so much fun to write em português! And its kind of addicting when you start.
Well, not a whole lot is happening. We have 2 baptisms lined up for this week. They both need a lot of support from the members, and due to some problems that the ward had with a past missionary, they arent too excited to help. :( But we just have to keep working hard, show that we arent the same missionary, and that we will make a difference.
Mom, I ate something that I desperately wanted to take a picture of and send you guys, but I didnt have my camera so I will just tell you. I got a feijoada at a local bar/restaurant thingy (just R$7 for lunch! And its good food) and they put A LOT of fat pieces in it. I took one out that happend to have skin on one side, and guess what the skin had?? It had HAIR! It looked a lot like eyelashes, but it was actually part of the chin. :D Oh gross! Oh yes! I still ate the non-fatty parts, just wanted to gross you all out. ;)
The padded envelope hasnt come yet, but thats okay. We are REALLY liking the mashed potatoes! (Elder Tenney got BBQ sauce, so we make a cheap version of Smashers) Thank you so much for the birthday and Christmas stuff! :D

Hey Dad, have you read Jesus the Christ? Im slowly making my way through it, and it sheds a TON of light on the life of Christ. I really enjoy it, but after a bit I get kinda sleepy. :P Also 3 Nephi (??? its not Néfi?) is really good too. I think its awesome that you are developing a study habit. Its something that keeps me alive down here.
How do you like the Kindle? Im wanting to get one after the mission to buy books in Portuguese to read and learn more modern language. I saw one at Targino's house, and he let me look at it and try it out, and I think it would be a great way to read stuff like Harry Potter in Portuguese to keep in practice.

Alisha and Todd, did your letter come yet? I sent it a few weeks ago, so it should get there pretty soon.
Todd, sounds like you are getting super good at racquetball! Thats so awesome, I miss it quite a bit. Instead we get to paint houses and watch soccer. Today we are going to watch The Best Two Years in the chapel for P-Day. Itll be really interesting to see the differences and similarities, even though a lot of the movie is staged and wouldnt happen.
Alisha, how are things going with you? I had another dirt-tasting Açai the other day, but it was like a good dirt. :) There are so many things you guys have to try when you get down here! Maybe we will pass on the Panelada or buchada, but the fruits here are wonderful!
Sarah, are you doing okay with everything? Got any big news? Im dying to hear from you.
Well, I have to go. Have a fantastic week, all of you! I will write some more next week!

~Elder Wille


Here's the Portuguese part in English, courtesy of Google translate:

I'm going to graft part of my letter to President Souza. One more miracle. 

This week witnessed a miracle and a spiritual experience. We passed the house of a researcher, and she said she could not meet us at the moment, because the mother was much depressada. A thought crossed my mind to give a blessing, but I thought it was just me, and did not answer. While walking, I told Elder Tenney about thinking and how it should be followed, and before reaching 100 meters from home, I had the strong impression that we must turn. Do not hesitate, come back, and the mother (Catholic) immediatamente accepted, and have read the scripture that we had left with her daughter. She received us crying, and fully believed in the blessing. Felt the Spirit so strong. Come back and see if our service has helped to open their hearts.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Benfica 14-1-2014

Hello family! Exactly 6 months and one day until I get home! (whos trunky? not me!!! :P) But in all seriousness, I dont count down. It makes the wait take too long and draws out all the agony. :D

Dad, the Monroe family sent me a card with pictures of the family and I got a bit curious about one. It looks like their oldest daughter Allison is serving a mission. Which one is she serving in?
Also, I was wondering if you could get me a copy of my Line of Authority. In the same copy of the Liahona mentioned below is instructions on how to get it, or you could look on the internet. Could you send me a copy? Thanks!
Im sorry they released you from an enjoyable calling. :( I imagine here its a lot like Mexico where all the faithful men have huge callings, even the young whipper snappers. Our bishop is probably only 35 at most. I hope your next calling is something that you also enjoy doing!

Give Alex a big missionary hug for me please! I miss that guy so much. Could you tell him to email me too? We can email friends here, and it goes much faster than snail mail. Also, could you give him my Parabéns for serving as a missionary and tell him Welcome Home?

Okay, so we had interviews with President Souza, and it was really cool. I found out that I probably wont be a Zone Leader, (No, I didnt do anything wrong) and that is okay with me. My personality type is better for training and opening areas, which is exactly what Ive done. I thought a bit about it a week ago, and realized that ever since I became senior, Ive opened every single one of my four areas, and trained in 3. Its hard work, but if thats where the Lord needs me the most, I will do it.

On the bright side, I finally wrote down those recipes. They dont have exact measurements of stuff, so I guessed and will have to adjust when I get home. Im keeping a journal more closely of events and miracles that happen down here. Im starting to see more clearly where God acts in our lives, the importance of everything. Its amazing, and Im a bit sad that I didnt see all this earlier. But I still have 6 months to see and enjoy all the wonderful things.
Ive learned a lot here. Ive learned that there are two paths. One is easy, but without possibility to lead us where we need to go. The other is hard, very hard, and takes everything we have, but it is only by this one where it is possible, whereas the other is not.

Okay, a bit of Portuguese and a time saver from my letter to President Souza:
Temos duas datas esta semana, Isa e Vanize. Temos que ensinar bastante para elas ainda, mas com o Senhor tudo é possível. Ontem, eu perguntei se ela tem desejo de se batizar, e ela disse que sim. Depois eu perguntei por que, e ela disse a resposta maior que eu já ouvi na minha vida. Eu sinto que eu preciso ser batizada. Ela deixou café mais cedo aquele mesmo dia.

And now I have to tell you about an interview that I had. Dad, please dont get trunky. ;) It was a lady, 29 years old, and it took almost 2 hours to finish the interview, not counting waiting for the Sisters. It was marked for 2 in the afternoon, and we arrived at 2h10 (2:10 pm) and waited 40 minutes, left at 2h50 for the house in hopes of seeing a message as to what happened. We got there, and right as I opened the door, I saw the screen light of the cell phone go out. I missed a call by 30 seconds from one of the assistants. (Elder Bohman, I think I mentioned him in a few letters) I called back, and he asked if I knew about the interview today, I said I did, and he said that the Sisters are there waiting. We had just missed them.
We got there, and couldnt get the door to the chapel opened. We called a member to open it, and it was the other 16-pin key that opens the door. (the keyhole looks like a phillips head) I started the interview at about 3h15. She didnt have worthiness problems, just testimony. She had passed the interview already, and her husband is a recent convert, but she had a lot of doubts and didnt get baptized. After an hour and fourty minutes, I ended the interview after digging deep and finding a tiny nugget of faith that we have a profet. Eh, I mean Prophet. :D anyway, I walked out of there with a feeling that I hadnt done enough, thinking that she might back out of the baptism, and things I could have said to help, etc etc. Her baptism was scheduled that very day, and I could hear the font filling up. I hoped desperately that she would be baptized and well integrated.
When I called to check up on the Sisters that night, there was much rejoicing in their house. The lady did get baptized, and was very excited. Sister Miles informed me that she had been working with her for 4 months and had not been able to baptize her, and that it was the miracle of her mission. We really do have the Lords help when we are about His work. I thought I had failed in the interview, but the Lord showed me His tender mercies because I had done my best in that moment, that even though my strength is not sufficient, I havent used all of it until I use His.

I want to end my letter on a good note, so I will close now. Until next week!

~Elder Wille

Monday, January 6, 2014

Miracles in Benfica 6-1-2014

Welcome to the new year! I cannot believe that it has gone by so fast! 6 months and I will be talking Portuguese with you guys instead of writing it! :)

I found out that Benfica is the ward and stake, and that it isnt a state division. The area that Im in is called Jardim América, and the neighbor one is called Dama. That might help finding where I am. My street is João Sorongo #435, or something like that. I know its 400 and something, right across the street from Depósito João Sorongo.

Well, the miracles still happen. I have two for you today.
First, on Christmas Eve day, not a whole lot was happening. We didnt have a lot of investigators, so we tried to find new people, which didnt happen too well. We arrived at a corner and stopped to think what to do next, and I had the impression to retrace our steps. I felt something pushing my left shoulder to turn around, and we walked back. As we walked about 70 feet, I looked at the houses passing on the left. Some open, a lot closed. One had a man visible busy doing something. After about 6 houses, I stopped, turned around again, identified the exact house we needed to visit, the one with the person in it.
We called him over, [name redacted] is his name from Rio, and we asked about him and his family. He said that his mom died about 3 months ago, that it would be the first Christmas without her, and that it wouldnt be very happy. We shared the Plan of Salvation and it seemed to comfort him. We have tried to share more, but he isnt home a lot of the time.

Number two. A few days ago, I was cleaning out our beast of an area book. This area is pretty old, and has a ton of papers in it. I went ripping pages out that were older than a year. I was in the process os crumpling up a page that was two years old and particularly lacking information when I just couldnt bring myself to finish. I smoothed it out, looked at it, and put it back.
*Note for people: since houses here are really cheap, (rent is sometimes as small as R$ 250 or R$ 300, wouldnt that be SO nice??) the people of Fortaleza move a lot.*
A baptismal interview fell through this last Saturday, and I felt that we needed to pass that house that day. We went at the former interview time, and it just so happened that she hadnt moved, she still lived there, and she was actually home at that hour! She studies with the Jehovas Witnesses, but accepted to read the Book of Mormon and she came to church yesterday! Her name is [name redacted], is about 35. She lives with her dad, who was making comments and warnings on how we had to leave or he would kill us. At least thats what I think I heard. Hes a bit old, uses a cane, so Im not too worried about dying at his hands, however we need to keep our image as high as we can. So we will find a members house to teach her at.

Okay, so the post office nabbed my birthday presents. :/ Im going there as soon as we finish here.

Dad, I completely agree with you guys that I need to marry someone fun. Ive thought about it a bit, and that is something that I definitely want. Someone with a sense of adventure. :) but not too much adventure, we all know what happens with too much. :D
I have a story that I think youll like. We have a canal really close to our house, and so the mosquitos are a pest here. Even with fans (ventiladores) and bug spray they still attack like rabid beasts. Elder Tenney counted 135 bug bites after 2 weeks! We decided that it had to stop. We bought some aerosol insecticide, closed all the windows, gassed the place on our way out for the day, and came back. Good thing, no mosquitos. Bad thing, lets just say that when we step outside of our house into the strong morning sun with near 100 degree weather, it feels like a cool spring day in the mountains. :D hahaha! gostou?

Well, I gotta end this monster of a letter. Plus my time is about up. Thank you so much for your care and love! I wish you all a happy new year, may it be bright and cheery!

~Elder Wille