Monday, September 29, 2008
Thank you all so much for your letters they mean more than I can express(in English :)
I hope that everyone is doing well! My week was really a powerful testimony builder!
Vigeta and I have been preparing a man named Ismael to get married and baptized. It was really a amazing experience; He has been going frequently to the ward here for about a year or two now, but it had been about a year since he heard anything from the missionaries. So, we set a goal with him from the start to get married this past Friday and Baptized this past Saturday. We have been teaching him and he already knew a ton so we were able to really prepare for the waters of baptism. He was baptized Saturday and it was one of the most spiritual experiences that I have been a part of. He has a really strong testimony and has already really helped us with two of the families we are working with right now.
Yesterday also was the best Sunday I have had in the mission so far; We had about 10 elders in elders quorum yesterday along with 2 of our investigators. This might sound weak but this is like a record turn out here. It was a really good elders quorum. Then in Principles of the Gospel Vigeta taught the class about involving our talents. We had two families come out to visit and it was a really spiritual hour (Ismael really helped us with the newbies).
We have been working with a purpose this transfer to find families and help build the ward of Cabo Quevedo closer to the chapel and our prayers have really been answered; Ismael was our first baptism closer to the chapel, then close by we have Eduardo and Mariusa, who have been searching for the gospel and Mariusa recognizes that we are an answer to her prayers. Then we have Arlei and Laura who are practically members already. They have come with us to church the last three Sundays and are asking about all of the books and materials, conference, everything! We even had a brasillian bar-b-q with them last yesterday (Ohhh, which is like Tucanos galore, ohh, homer simpson drool...).
I know that the Lord answers our prayers! I would appreciate it if you could pray for a few people that we are teaching; Arlei, Laura, Alessandra, Arlei jr., Eduardo, Mariusa, José, Maria, Carlos, Marlene, Jeferson, Paulino, Junior, Paulo, William, Leci, Clarisa, Caroline.
Your prayers could really make a difference!
Love you guys, thanks for your support, prayers, love, emails!
Your all a huge part of my book of life!
Tchau, Até proxíma semana!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Then came weighing in time. I wore the same capris I wore last week (when I went from light cotton to jean capris it wasn't good news - hence the comment about crying), a light weight top and of course slip on shoes. (I am really not looking forward to going to the meetings during a snow storm wearing jean capris, a light top and slip on shoes.)
Back to the scale. I lost a whole .2 lbs. Not 2 lbs - point two pounds. How could this be? I went into the meeting and sat in the back feeling totally dejected. What went wrong.... were my keys in my pocket??? .....Oh yea, that stupid sentimental chocolate cake, not the piece I planned for on Sunday but the one that seduced me on Tuesday (see comments on last weeks flashback for an explanation). Then Wednesday night Jen made an awesome mini apple pie for YW - I knew it was awesome cause I ate some of it. I also realized that I had gotten in the bad habit (again) of eating a handful of cereal when I cleared up breakfast - didn't count those points either.
At the end of the meeting a young mother with a small baby got an award for reaching her goal. We all cheered. When asked if she had any advice she said, "Just keep at it. Don't get discouraged if you only loose .2 lbs instead of 2 lbs. a loss is still a loss and you are going in the right direction." (She really did say that exact thing, talk about tender mercies) She went on to explain that she had lost 120 lbs. There was a collective gasp. She said she was three pounds from her goal when she found out she was pregnant. Now her baby is a few months old and she made it! Good for her!
Going in the right direction. How applicable to so many more things than loosing my love handles. So here is my goal. Don't obsess, learn from my mistakes and just keep moving in the right direction. If I'm doing that I'll get there eventually. (And weigh myself at home beforehand with my clothes on.)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
As I began working in the backyard this past spring I noticed a Robin. He (or she) always kept his distance but was always there. As I would move from one part of the yard to the other he would hop up on the fence and then back to the ground on the other side. I was eating my lunch after tilling and I noticed him plucking juicy worms from the freshly turned soil. He would often take baths in the puddle the sprinklers made in the grass. Soon he was joined by another Robin and four babies. We watched them grow and try their wings jumping off rocks to the ground below. As they grew their brown chests begin to fill in with red feathers. When the stream began to run they would splash and play in the water, chasing away the smaller birds but running quickly when the magpies came around. I chased away the magpies and a stray cat that came around for a while. I watch my robin almost every day. He always sits in the same place in the stream by the red island rock that the kids love too. He often fluffs out his feathers and just sits in the water as if he is hatching some invisible egg - maybe it really is a she. During many long hours of work this summer I lamented about what I had gotten myself into but I was never alone. I kept at it and the robin was always nearby, much like our Father in Heaven.
Monday, September 22, 2008
I hope everyone is well!
My week was a lil crazy. We had our Zone Conference this passed week, and it was really inspiring! Presidente Myrrha is really inspired. I am learning a lot. Then this passed Saturday we had Celebrated the Dia do Gaúcho(the day of the Brassillian Cowboy). Which means that everyone gets drunk and dresses up in the traditional get up and rides horses around the city like it's the World Cup or something. But, as it turns out we actually taught a few lessons and the day wasn't totally wasted; and I forgot my camera and don't the traditional cloths so you'll all just have to wait until the next Dia do Gaúcho to see what a crazy expeirience it is.
With two days almost totally taken by our conference and the drunken cowboys we still had plans to bring 20+ investigators to church on Sunday; But, it turns out word isn't really a bond here and we ended up bringing three precious souls to sacrament meeting.
To sum it all up Satan was really working just as hard as we were this week; We have been teaching a middle aged woman named Marisa. She seemed to me a gift from heaven. She was truly a blessing to teach; always animated, excited to hear what would happen in the next chapter. She even went one of the activities in the ward alone; met all of the women in the ward and was very excited to go to sacrament meeting. But, when we arrived she said she wouldn't be going to church with us. She said she would keep following her church, the catholic church. Minha nossa, O que aconteceu? Eu falei. What the crap, but more polite, what happened? I said. Then she said that no one said anything. I said, what, I didn't ask who, I asked what. Then I saw her sister in the window and I knew what happened. I wanted to cry, but my companion was already tearing up. But I realized that that Satan is very powerful and very cunning and like our Father in Heaven he works through others. I am so grateful for my testimony and for your support. I don't think I could do this without your love and the love of our Father in Heaven.
I don't know if there is anything else we can do, but I hope that at least we planted a seed and that she will not close her heart.
Sure love you guys!!! Thanks for your letters!!!
Até proxíma semana...
Friday, September 19, 2008
I don't remember exactly when it was but Mark and I were in town with our three kids and we were visiting her. As we were getting ready to go she pulled out the cake saver which had not been used for a while. She showed me a little dent in it and a small spot of rust and made a few suggestions as to how to get it perfect again. As we were putting on the kids jackets and gathering toys, she continually got more uneasy. Suddenly she disappeared into her bedroom and then reappeared with another cake saver. "Here" she said, "take this one - it's perfect." Then came her confession, "I was going to keep it in case I want to take a cake somewhere but I feel guilty not giving you my best one". Now I felt guilty, even knowing what the proper dessert was I never took a cake anywhere unless it was in a 9x12 pan. This obviously meant more to her than it did to me until that moment. Despite my objections I left with the perfect one. Unfortunately I have never used it to this day. Maybe it's time to do a little baking and visiting....
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
First name: Karen
Doing right now: Eating Lunch!
My first job: Bank Teller
My favorite color: Spring green
My favorite food: grilled chicken and veggies
Amy tagged all the family so I tag Tommie, Jessica, Mandy, Allegra and Christie!
How is everyone?
My week has really been a race. Elder Vigeta and I have been working like crazy and our prayers have really been answered! We have about 80 investigators that we have contacted in the passed 3 weeks! We have 31 new investigators this week and about 15 families.
It has been really amazing how our prayers have been answered and how much we are working. We were able to bring a family to church yesterday that are really interested in the church. I am praying that they had a good experience, considering that our Ward is really primitive. We are really trying to motivate the members to be missionaries and it is starting to pay off. We have received a few references that are showing real potential. We have been sharing a message at every one of our lunch appointments about missionary work and how the members can be missionaries and it has really been a help to a lot of the members here to know what they can do to help.
We also are starting to collect a bit of information that will really help the next group of missionaries; How long have you been members, what is your calling, married in the temple, former religion, etc.
It is really cool, I think we will present this idea to presidente. It will really help when we can show up in a new area with all of the information right in front of us.
We have had a lot of really cool experiences. Yesterday we taught a family that has really been searching for the truth of the gospel; and we have really been searching for them. I am so grateful for missionary work and for the guidance of the Lord when we are doing the right things! Obedience is an important principle and the blessings are real!
Love you all, I will write more next week but I've got to run...
Thank you for you email's they mean a whole lot to me!!!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
You Are Pocahantas!
Free-spirited and wise. You have a strong passionate spirit that touches and changes all who know you. The wisdom and common sense that you have is really what guides you through life. Even so, you also have a very playful side that loves adventure and excitement.
Which Disney Princess Are You?
Thanks, Cinderella.....I mean Kami Su
Friday, September 12, 2008
Last week we were preparing to leave for Lotoja. If you remember, Mark had the fastest time last year setting a new course record. If you want to see it for yourself click here . It was pretty amazing. 206 miles in 9 hours 6 minutes. With as many people riding in a race that long it was like lightening striking - everything just came together. This year there was no way they were going to let Mark get off the front. The masters 45 category finished in a group and it was a sprint to the finish. Mark got kind of boxed in but still got third - awesome finish! This time it took about 9 hours and 45 minutes. Proof that 2 people willing to work together are more effiecient than 16 people who are not willing to work together. Click here for some awesome pictures. Aaron and Celisa joined us and Amy, Jordan and Ruby were planning to come but Ruby got sick at the last minute.
School started for me and I hit the ground running. I would have pitures of me on my first day of school but... well you know - I've been going so long that no one really cares :) and besides that - I really hate looking at pictures of myself - which leads me to another new thing - I joined Weight Watchers. I finally took the plunge. I'm down five pounds and really excited - something is finally working. I debated about making this public knowledge but now that you know it means I'm really committed.
Yesterday we held that annual Jr. Core social which means we hosted 30 people in our back yard for dinner. No I didn't cook but I did get the backyard 97% finished! (this year's phase anyway)... well except for the drip system, and I can't figure out how to finish off the last corner - ANYWAY I won't rain on my parade! I have to say that while it was way more work than I imagined, it also turned out better than I imagined. Come and check it out! Here are some pictures for those of you who live further away:
I'll post more pictures later, I'm having a hard time getting them to download and I need to do some homework.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Another week has flown by!
Thanks for all of your letters they touched my heart!
Well, our prayers have really been answered! Right now we are teaching a few families that really have potential.
The family of Alei and Laura and their two children. They are really intelligent and very scincere. They are in there 40's and they are recognizing that the church is really professional. They have recognized the spirit and now all we have to do is help them come to church with us. I have been very impressed with the simple way that the spirit works through us and how insensitive I was before my mission; because of everyday life. What a blessing it is to be able to serve a mission.
I have had the opportunity to recognize many of the different ways the spirit can answer our prayers. The other day we were teaching a woman named Fatima. She works in her house most of the day, sewing and cleaning cloths; and we taught her about the restauração(restoration) of the gospel. We recognized the spirit during the message but then like usual we challenged her to pray about what we taught.
We returned the other day and as we were talking, we asked, "how was the response to your prayer?" She said that for her, "she hadn't received an answer yet." Then we explained that responses to our prayers can come in all sorts of ways; and then my companion started listing some of the ways; burning feeling in your heart, dreams, but then he said one that neither he or I had thought of before, a recurring thought. That you just couldn't stop thinking about that thing. In that moment, she said that, that had happened to her. She was working and couldn't stop thinking about the restoration. It was simple, and if the spirit hadn't identified it to my companion perhaps it would have slipped by.
This has happened to me many many times! I can remember now with the clarity of the spirit into my past and I know that our prayers are always answered.
BUT, we need to be sensitive to the spirit to recognize it.
I'm so grateful for the gospel. Now at our lunch appointments I am sharing a thought by President Ezra Taft Benson, I will try to translate...
"We are ordained by God to bring this gospel to all the earth. That is the cause that must unite us today. Only the gospel will save the world from it's own destruction. Only the gospel will unite all races and Nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness and salvation to humanity."
It's not only the responsibility of the missionaries.
I gave a talk in sacrament meeting two weeks ago about missionary work. The church has always been a missionary church. Just think about when Christ organized the church, with 12 apostles and the quorum of the 70. He gave them the power of the priesthood and said, go teach! What a great and marvelous responsibility we have, to share the gospel. I hope none of you let it pass you by!
Thanks everybody for the cards in the package! I really enjoyed getting something tangible.
Until Next week!
Love, Elder Z the 3rd
Monday, September 1, 2008
But, Elder Vigeta and I are burning through our shoes.
We have been praying to find leaders and thus teaching pastors. It's been a bit of a headache but I guess you get what you ask for. They have been showing a lot of interest I am just praying that they can open their hearts.
We have had a lot of cool experiences this week with people that have been prepared; We are teaching a family that is having problems and we were in the right place at the right time.
Also we found an ancient investigator that already read the Book of Mormon cover to cover dictionary and all. Ha, he said that the dictionary was really interesting and probably his favorite part!
I'm really sorry that I can't write more, but, The Church is True the book is Blue.
Love, Elder Z