Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Questions from the First Lesson

Blue skies over Bauru

PANCAKES! Now that's a GOOD breakfast!

This semana (week) was quality. We finally are teaching some people who are interested in what we have to say, namely a family of 3, but for this week, just one, because the others had to work. The one is their son, Mateus (Matthew in English). He’s 12 years old, and super, super, smart. I have taught (and struggled with) 12 year olds before, but he is super attentive, and knows the Bible really well for being so young. After a little effort, I got him to accept a baptismal date for the 15th of May.

How does that work, you ask? Well, during the first lesson, which is on the Restoration, at the end, you ask the following questions (at least, this is how I’ve been taught to do it, but it varies per missionary):

“Would you like to know if our message is true? Why? How can you know?” (Hopefully “prayer” is their answer.)
“Right. So, will you pray later today and ask God if our message is true?” (They say “Sure.”)
“How is God going to respond?” (Hopefully they will say “through feelings”)
“And when God tells you that it’s true, will you follow His counsel?” How?” (The primary way of following His answer is going to church, and then taking a step of faith, and being baptized.)
“Would you follow this precious answer from God and be baptized into HIS church?” (They respond, “Yes!”)
“Good, you have great faith. We would like to baptize you today, however, there exists a preparation period. But on the 15th of May (3rd Saturday of the month), we are preparing a baptismal service. So, let’s imagine for a moment that you receive your answer from God saying that this is His church, would you follow that answer by being baptized on that day?” (They say, “Certainly!”)

BAM! OK, granted, that would be a “perfect” scenario, but that’s basically how it goes.

Sweet, this past Monday I celebrated a mission birthday... 8 months, which means 1/3 of the mish “já era” (already was, or it’s gone).

A downside to the week - we went to Angelica and Bruno’s house, and they basically said that they like the visits, but they don’t wanna be baptized (GREAT! NOT!). Alright, cool. Basically, I just told them that was okay, it has been fun, and you’re always welcome in the church, but, goodbye. I will miss them.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Zone Conference!

Laundry day in Brazil.

It's a Swingin' Life!


This week was decent. It was pretty busy, too. We had a zone conference all day in Marilia last Thursday. We rode the bus for about an hour and a half to get there. The theme was on how to better use the Book of Mormon in our lessons. There were a couple of lectures and some practices. It was great to be around so many other missionaries, and even some from the MTC, like Elder Webb, Elder Ghormley and Elder Yuma. They’re all doing really well.

Then on Saturday, we went to help out the area of Geisel all day, because they’re having some problems there.

At zone conference I also met up with Elder Galdino (one of my past companions). Three weeks ago, his parents died. It was super tragic. His mom died of a heart attack while attending the funeral of her husband, Elder Galdino’s father. It was almost like a corny movie. Unfortunately, it was real life and that’s truly how it happened. I’ve been worrying a lot about him, and finally got to talk to him -- and to my surprise, he was all smiles. He barely mentioned what happened. He was in high spirits and super excited to see me, since I’m his favorite missionary (not a surprise, it is me of course....hehe). He will be staying on his mission, although he is a bit concerned about where he will go after his mission is over. His parents were not members of the Church. I’m really glad that as members of the Church we are comforted by the FACT that we will get to see our loved ones again after this life. And conditional upon our obedience while here in this life, we can live together forever with them as eternal families, not until death do us part.

Last p-day our zone got together and played some frisbee, ooohhhh…I felt at home again. And then to make it even better, this morning we got together again and had an American breakfast with pancakes, syrup and eggs!

The work here is going good, and as of now, the day of May 15th is looking like it's going to be a good day for baptisms. Next week will be better, and I’ll give you more info and name some names.

Elder Titus

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Getting the Members to Trust Us...

Some members getting together for a ward activity (Bishop is wearing white shirt and tie)

My new companion, Elder Campêlo

Opa, beleza?

Everything is good here still. Living the life of the senior companion. It’s a good life, calling the shots and all.

Unfortunately Angelica and Bruno didn’t pass the interview to be baptized. Bruno is still calling the “Book of Mormon,” the “Book of the Mormons,” (O Livro de Mormon, O Livro dos Mormons). It’s annoying (by the way, that’s NOT why he didn’t pass the interview). But we’ll work with them some more, and hopefully they will get baptized sometime during this transfer. I know that with the Lords help, we can do it!

My new companion, Elder Campêlo, is a good companion, a little strange, but good. He’s from Curitiba, Brasil, a bit further down south. He’s 21 years old, but looks super young. He’s got 4 months on the mission, and still has a bit to learn.

To change things now as a senior companion, I’m focusing a lot of our time on the members. We’re going around and visiting them. We’re not going in their houses and being slackers, but just stopping by and talking on the door step, just getting to know them better, so that they learn to trust us. At the moment we don’t have a ton of people we’re teaching, but by the end of this transfer it’s gonna be good. We’re trying to participate in a lot of Family Home Evenings with the members, too.

Tomorrow is zone conference, so I get to see my buddies from Marilia (Elder Yuma and Elder Ghormley, from the MTC). Elder Ghormley is still with Elder da Silva (haha). Elder Yuma is a trainer now -- that was a surprise for all of us (himself included), but it shouldn’t be, because he’s a great missionary. Elder Gibbons is in my zone now, in Bauru.

Nothing else in our district changed last week -- just me getting a new comp.

Got a funny story for you: At our last district meeting, Elder Hair (our zone leader) was talking about a question that we can answer with the Book of Mormon (the question being: does my child that is a baby need to be baptized?) using Moroni Chapter 8. In Portuguese the question would be: “Meu filho bebê precisa ser batizado?” but he said, “Meu filho bêbe precisa ser batizado?” Although they look the same – there is one major difference, notice the accent on bebê? The accent on the first e makes it “drinks,” so basically he said: “Does my child that drinks need to be baptized?” He got laughed at. A lot.

Até logo,
Elder Titus

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I'm the Senior Companion Now!

Welcome to Bauru

YES! We have a McDonalds! (Way off in the distance)

Opa (wow), today is transfer day, and yep things changed a bit. My current companion, Elder Villela is out. He’s been transferred back to the homeland of Londrina to be the secretary (in charge of finances). It’s different, the missionaries that work in the office are there until 5 pm, and only get 4 hours to do proselyting. At the moment, I’m still with Elder Villela, but at 7 PM tonight I will meet my new companion. His name is Elder Campêlo, and we will rule the world this transfer. Why? Because I’m now the SENIOR companion!!!! Uh oh, time to unleash the beast (also known as Elder Titus)! It’s gonna be a bad idea, because now I get to give the commandments, use the cell phone AND keep the house keys. Elder Campêlo has like 4 or 5 months in the field, and I don’t have a clue about him, but I’m stoked, because he’s my first companion that has an accent mark over his name! I still don’t really know what that means...but the pronunciation is pretty straight forward (Cahmp-peh-loo).

Oh man, things are getting intense with Angelica and Bruno. They don’t feel prepared to get baptized, which is not true. They´re just scared, but everything is going to be alright. We just need to pray a lot. They will get baptized this Saturday.

Things are getting a little tougher. I’m cutting a lot of our “mole” (mol-ee) investigators, and we are also switching our area of focus. At the moment, we are working two locations that are at the opposite ends of our area. It’s annoying to walk that much, but what that means is that at the moment we don’t have a ton of investigators, and less “elect” investigators. We’ve got some who have good potential, but they just need to go to church. Ariane and her two sons, are great, but they haven’t gone to church yet. Her parents were baptized by Elder Hair last month, in his area. Ariane’s husband travels a lot, but he’s returning soon, so we’re going to try to get him involved.

This last weekend was General Conference, too. Way good! I got to watch it in English with Elder Hair and Elder Madrid. There was a pretty common theme, families/parenting. Somewhat of a disappointment for me was that the number of missionaries went down. Crestwood Ward, prepare to receive a letter about this. I liked the talk about how the cows went back for their calves after the calves had wandered off the path (to nap in the shade). It was cool that only the cows could get them to come back to the corral, so true. Mothers have amazing capabilities.

A Catholic Cemetery

We have a Catholic cemetery in our area. They´re nuts! They build little chapels over their bodies. It’s weird, but kind of cool too.

I was on splits with Elder Hair (where you swap companions for a short time) in my area. And yes, there was a McDonalds. It cost 16 reais for a Big Mac meal, which is about $10 American.

Alright people, peace for now!
Elder Titus