Monday, May 26, 2014

O Fim Se Aproxima (Parque Universitário 26-5-2014)

Yes, I am that trunky. :P Well, only sometimes. I seem to be getting trunkier and I dont like it. :( And to top it off, I made a cover for my last planner! I printed the picture of Delicate Arch and put it on the back with a little airplane flying home. :D Its my last planner, my last 6 weeks of being a full time missionary. I cant believe its the end!

Well, this week was stake conference, and President and Síster Souza talked in both Saturday Night and Sunday morning sessions. Sunday it was short, but Saturday was really good. Sister Souza talked about using Mormon words when you bater papo to help people get to know the church, and President Souza called the stakes attention to help the missionaries, reading off the statistics. Basically from what I remember, here is what it said this.

Of the new investigators found,
40% - Talk with everyone
20% - Referral
I forgot the rest.

Of the total people baptized:
48% - Member Referral
25% - Less Active/Partial Families
17% - Talk with Everyone
8% - Tracting
2% - Other

President Souza said outright that Tracting does not work here, the people dont want to know about our message.
Its true, even though here they are more warm and less hostile. They will listen and even agree to the teachings, but when it comes to put it in practice they make some excuse. My theory is that there is more or less some kind of equalizer in all areas, regardless on which continent it is, that it is equally hard to find elect. Teaching is easier in some areas, harder in others. Some will teach 20 people in a week and find one elect, others will teach 5 people in a week and also find one elect. Just an opinion of mine.

Okay, other news. We got 3 people to church this week! And the car didnt break down! :) Two girls of ages 16 and 17 (the mom had to work) and a lad that has (is) 13. We are going to try and baptize [name redacted] this week, one of the girls that went with us. If she isnt ready we wont. We also are teaching a few other people. [name redacted] has 3 kids of 7 years, 4 years, and one month, and she lives alone. We started teaching [name redacted] and her husband [name redacted], and she would have gone to church, but had to travel. This week she will go with us! :) Im super happy!

Elder Lessa is indeed conversing more. Our walks to Bela Vista are much more entertaining now. :) Someone asked how he and his Japanese girlfriend got to know one another. Theres a lot of Japanese immigrants in São Paulo, and here animé is a very common thing. Alisha and Sarah just rolled their eyes. :P

Ummmm, Im still playing piano? Im learning the left hand of Vede Morreu o Redentor #110. Ive forgotten which one in english. >.> Its not terribly hard, and Im seeing lots of progress! :)
Oh oh! We watched Cars 2 in portuguese today, but it was filmed by a camcorder in the theater and really hard to hear. I liked it, not as much as others, but I think its worth seeing another time or two. :)

Hope you liked the letter, sorry for lack of news. Not a whole lot has happened. Just that every single week, at least one person gets sick. We havent had one entire week with everyone healthy. I think we got 6 days at the most. Must be the lack of veggies here. ;)

~Elder Wille

Monday, May 19, 2014

Parque Universitário 19-5-2014

Ei família!!! Como vocês estão? Estão trunky demais??? Eu estou bem, não muito trunky. As vezes bate, mas só de vez em quando.

Okay, so we finally were able to bring people to church today! Even though the car broke down after 50 feet and the battery died. We ended up waiting for the bishop to pick up his car and take the two to the chapel. It almost didnt happen, but we hung in there and it worked out! The bishop only had room for the investigators, so Lavosieux got his other car (a glorified, street legal go-kart. Actually its a dune buggy) and we went to church in that! It was a bit scary, cause there is zero accident protection, and the entire car weighs about 700 pouds. Just a guess.

Funny story time! by the way, this letter is going to be a monster.
So we have this canal that runs by our area, and it always has 4 or 5 inches of water passing in it, and it smells awful. This week it rained pretty good, and we took cover on the edge of said canal. It rained pretty good, and the river got pretty high, and all kinds of small garbage floated by. We talked about grabbing something to raft the river and rapids that appeared a hundred yards down. Suddenly, Elder Lessa calls my attention upriver, to a bright orange thing floating in the water. (no dead bodies Dad, sorry) The thing was a tattered broken capsized sofa floating down the river! It didnt drag on the ground or anything, just bobbed downriver. We got a good laugh out of that, but the best is yet to come! 10 or so minutes later, we see yet ANOTHER sofa! But this one is even better, right side up, and almost brand new! We laughed pretty hard, but I think you had to have been there to understand the complete irony.

The conference with Elder Andersen was absolutely spectacular!!! They combined the missions Fortaleza and Fortaleza East, and we took pictures with Elder Andersen. Hes been an Apostle for 5 years, and he talked a lot about sharing the Atonement with our investigators. He didnt outright say it, but I learned that the key to real conversion is in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He also touched on and confirmed various ideas that Ive had throughout the mission on how to do the work, and this was one of them. He also said that we shouldnt baptize too soon, wait a bit to baptize. There has to be a change of heart to be baptized. Not complete, but it has to start for the time to be right.
During his talk/training, he invited the presidents of both missions to offer a 3 minute comment on Elder Bednar's talk from last conference about Loads and Progression. When President Souza talked, the Spirit went through the roof!
The entire atmosphere was amazing. Right when Elder Andersen walked in, a peace filled the room, and just looking at him, you know that he represents the Lord. Theres just a big feeling of calm.
Mom, you would absolutely love talking with his wife. She participated too, sharing testimonies and experiences. I dont know who she reminds me of, but I know you would really like chatting with her. :)
Elder Andersen talked mostly in Portuguese, a bit broken with a few words in spanish and french, and a noticable french pronunciation on the Rs. But I think everybody understood, the Spirit speaks only one language.

Dad, the idolatry pictures are quite hilarious! I got a good kick out of them. I actually do have a bit of an interest how the garden is coming along. Thanks for sending pictures, its looking very nice!
Pablo conveniently forgot to mention the Semi truck. I think he thought I would worry too much, but if everything is okay, then Im not worried. The gouge in the car looks pretty knarly!
In answer to your question, I miss Mexican food quite terribly. Almost, in the beginning I did, but Ive gotten used to not having it. I will most definitely love having it back. :D
Thanks for your uplifting words Dad. Only 8 more weeks! :P I cant believe its ending already! It kind of eats my soul knowing that soon I have to leave all this behind. Im pretty sure Im going to cry when my nametag comes off. Did you cry when you were released?

Dad, I sent Pablos documents to be translated to you guys. He gave me money to put in my account, which you will take out to pay for the translation, but I dont know how to make a deposit in Brasil. Im pretty sure I remember my account number (not a good idea to say it here) Theres a Citibank in Aldeota that might work.

Mom, Im sorry I didnt write hardly anything to you. :( But know that I love and miss you very much! :D Just one month and 20 days! (says Elder Gonçalves)

Love you all! Enjoy the monster letter and the stories! :) I'll be home for Christmas....kinda! :) Tchauuuuuuuuu!

~Elder Wille

Monday, May 5, 2014

Parque Universitário 5-5-2014

Uau família! Como o tempo voa!!! No tacos here, they dont even have tortillas! D: I cant make myself a dang quessadilla! :O

Quick trunky update! I can count the number of weeks left on my fingers... D:
Dad, how many seconds are left? :D hahaha. We are thinking that Elder Dos Santos, his companion, and Elder Lessa are going to be the ones to kill me, that I will finish my mission here. Elder Parkhurst will probably be transferred beforehand.

Okay, so we had an interesting week. We FINALLY got solidly working in Bela Vista, and its going pretty good! We taught the Plan of Salvation to a lady, who lost her mom some time ago, and started crying in the lesson. She accepted Elder Lessa's invite to be baptized, and to get married first to her husband!
We also found a youth named [name redacted] (16 years old) and he is awesome! Frequently we ask questions for people to reflect on and apply the principle, and 95 percent of the time the answer is "I dunno," but [he] understood and responded really well!
Until now, we have only had one baptism, [name redacted]. Hes 63, lives alone, but accepted the gospel really well. The other two baptisms are from Elder Dos Santos and Parkhurst, and they are [names redacted]. Dad, Im not sure which picture they posted. Nazareno is a pretty beefy guy, and Francisco is smaller than me, and [name redacted] was the other companionship's.

Elder Lessa is pretty cool! He talks a lot more to Elder Dos Santos, them being from the same state and all. But hes a really good missionary, has a Japanese girlfriend, and yeah! I think I already said that hes the only church member in his family. It just kind of hit me now how little I know about him. I think another week and we will be conversing quite a bit, and I will know more about him. :) I ask questions and all about him, his family, etc. and he answers, but doesnt continue the conversation. Itll all go good this week. :)

Mom and Dad, I think you will be happy to know that I played the hymns in Sacrament Meeting yesterday! (simplified to melody and chords) Do What is Right, Jesus Once of Humble Birth, and Redeemer of Israel were the selected hymns. I practiced for about an hour, and it was the first time I played in front of people except the 15 seconds in [names redacted]'s baptism (which was just a one handed melody)
I LOVED the photos! Rock of Ages is very pretty, and Kami turned purple? Minha nossa!

Sorry for the confusion about work Dad. My idea is that during the summer after the semester of Snow I can work for Jordan. I dont know the details, so its not a superb judgment call. Im thinking that maybe not working during the semester and keeping the two scholarships plus Top Job during the summer is what Id like to do. Unless Snow has a summer semester, then I have to rethink things. What's your opinion?
The Snow scholarship frees me from tuition, and the Regents is a small bonus for books and stuff. Regents only gives the extra $1,000 the first payment, so Im aware that the amount will be smaller this time around.

About calling Elder Damásio, I dont think it would be such a good idea. President Souza is already pretty vehement about keeping calls strictly to our leaders, no parallel calls especially outside the zone. Theres been quite a few problems, so I dont think it would be a good idea. Im sending him an email though. :)

Today we watched The Croods in Portuguese, and then I watched a clip in English and I have to say, the voice of Grug is much better in Portuguese... >.> Does anyone know of a place or website that I can get movies voiced over in Brazilian Portuguese?

I sent off the long-awaited package to you guys! I kinda combined some Christmas and birthday presents, I hope you like them! I got something for Hayden too. It should leave today, and arrive in 15 to 18 useful days/business days. Dias úteis? It came to 132 Reais for shipping. Theres a really awesome fruit that you have to try here. I couldnt send the fruit itself or the pulp, so I had an awesome idea of how to send it to you. Youll find out when it gets there! One fruit thing for everyone!

Well, this letter is getting pretty big, I think I better send it off! When you get trunky, just sing an altered version of Santa Clause is coming to Town, but put Elder Wille instead of Santa Clause. ;) guarenteed to help!
Inspiration that I learned this week. In a position of leadership, we need to be real friends with our counselors, not just someone to turn to when we cant do something. It really helps the work go forward. :) Okay, times up, until next time! Bye!

~Elder Wille