Wednesday, July 28, 2010

That is a Good Sign That the Members Trust Us

Birthday cake with Marco and family...

... and more birthday cake, this time with Irma Ophelia, Flora and their families

New cell phones!


VACA SAGRADA* I´M 20!!!! Yes, you sinners that didn’t tell me happy birthday, 'twas my birthday last week! And, thank you! -- to those who did remember. Well, I pretty much feel the same.... my b-day was cool though. We taught 3 lessons, but in the 3rd one we watched the “The Other Side of Heaven.” It was sweet. And throughout the week I got various random cakes. I’ve eaten sooo much cake this week because everyone loves me. Last night we had my b-day barbeque, and it was cool. Irmão Marcos grilled up shish-kabobs with chicken hearts. Elder McCombs was about to die. I ate 2 kabobs, he ate like one little heart. They do smell super weird, but they’re not that bad. Then we had more cake.

Right now I’m currently in Ourinhos, because President Tavares wanted to do interviews here. The bus ride is awful. It’s an hour and 45 minutes long, and makes a ton of stops. We had to get up at 4:40 AM today. Awesome. However, my interview was cool. President Tavares shared a spiritual thought from Joshua 1:5-7, when Joshua was filling the shoes of Moses, and felt inadequate. The Lord tells him that He will be there with him, just as He was with Moses, and told him to be strong and of good courage, and follow the law that was given to Moses. Then in verse 8 it says that he will have success. It was a good little thought. At the end he gave me a blessing (he gave a blessing to everyone he interviewed). Interesting too, is that he asked about the work here, and I told him that we are receiving member references. He told us that is a strong sign that the members trust us. Yea!

Flavia is out of town. We are now teaching Flora’s daughter, Jozie, and her children. The lessons there are sweet. Jozie’s husband has potential further down the road. They all went to church, minus the husband

Augusto returned, then went away again, but has now returned again. Also that lady I talked about last week, Silvia, is still all set for August 7th.

Also we got a new cell phone!!

Time is short, so . . .

Tchau, until next week,

Elder Titus

*Vaca sagrada! = Holy cow!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Wish I Got More of Those Types of Phone Calls!

A branch member made me this awesome cake for my birthday!

Açaí berries! My new favorite food!


So, I was about to complain about how cold it was here, but it stopped and now it’s hot again. Last Friday was the coldest day I’ve experienced in Brazil, even though I wasn’t that cold. When we were doing street contacts at 8:30 PM, everyone was freaking out! Everyone was wearing multiple layers, scarves, gloves and hats and everything. People at the bus stops were tucking in and shivering uncontrollably. Sounds cold, right? Well, what’s funny is that we couldn’t even see our breath in the air, so that means that it was not below 50 degrees. They were acting just like I did when I was back in Rexburg, walking to class at BYU-Idaho and it was -40. That’s a 90 degree difference. haha. Wow.....

This past Sunday we had 6 investigators go to church, so that is way better than the zero we had last week. Many people are progressing. Flavia and Flora are for sure, but Flavia is going out of town for a month, but we will still continue to teach Flora and her daughter and her family. And finally, finally, Agosto got back from the farm, and now we can focus and work towards baptism. He was supposed to be baptized on the 17th. It’s still undetermined at the moment, but we’re shooting for July 30th, so we’ll see. Also, last week I got a phone call one night from this one lady in our ward who told me that her mom wants to be baptized, and she asked if we could teach her the next day. Her mom is Silvia, and she is practically a member, but she had problems with her divorce and was living with a dude. The divorce finally went through, and she married the guy, and now she’s ready for baptism. She has yet to mark a date, but that’s cool. I wish I got more of those types of phone calls!

The best thing that happened this week was last night at Marlene´s house. They are doing sooooo good. It’s amazing. They are such a cute family. She was telling me about what they are doing. Every day they read a chapter from the Book of Mormon and pray before bedtime together. And Guilherme told me that he also reads and prays on his own every day. The difference in this family is amazing. They are sooo happy. This is what we tell everyone will happen to them if they do that; read and pray daily. But no one does it -- until now. Finally someone listens. Holy cow, it actually works! I don’t understand why its so hard for people to do that. Miria also just finished 1st Nephi. Yea! Good recent converts rock!

Last week we decided that it would be in our best interest to each buy a kilo tub of açaí berries from the store. That was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Elder McCombs and I already ate both of them, And we bought another kilo today. Açaí everyday! Nothing is better. Life is good.

Well, time to go.

- Elder Titus

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Your Best Can Always Be Better

Me and President Tavares

Beautiful trees in Assis

Cool little bridge

This week was good as usual. Time is flying by super fast. Time flies when you are “besties” with your companion.

Well, the World Cup is over. Parabéns to España! I guess Brazil has to go back to work now.... haha. (parabéns = congratulations)

Right now it is rather nippy, and rainy, I feel right at home – weather is just like in Seattle... granted, nippy here is like 65 degrees.

Sunday was kind of a bummer. None of our investigators came to church! Boo! Agosto is still at the farm. Flavi and Flori had to entertain guests, and everyone else is just lazy. Flavi and Flori are the best though. Flori is pretty active in another church and one of her friends told her that she can’t leave them. Flori told her that she is not in it for friends, she wants to follow the right path, and that this is where Jesus wants her to go. (Yeh!). They are both way cool. After their lesson we taught another lady and I went to open my bag and here was a flippin’ gecko in there! It scared the junk out of me!

We found this sweet creek and I was trying to feed the fish, but it didn’t work because my pen fell in the water and scared them all -- and there was no way I was sticking my hand in there to find it! There could be piranha! I liked that pen, too.

So we had zone conference on Monday and we got to meet President Tavares and fam, and they are waaayyy cool. Completely opposite of the Leals. President Leal spoke softer and slower, and President Tavares is the opposite, and gets way excited. But they are equally spiritual. He got right to it, and talked about pride, because pride leads to most other sins. He talked about the 3 types of pride; looking above, equally and below, and the different forms, ie: comparison, and how that can lead to feelings of hate and covetousness. It was a good little talk.

He also talked about the story of Naman the leper and the Prophet Elijah, and how he had to wash in the River Jordan seven times. Then he talked about how there are seven things that we need to do to have miracles here:

- We need to ask the Lord to open our mouths and speak through us
- We need to have at least 4 people progressing
- We need to follow up with them daily if possible
- 20 quality lessons per week
- Weekly baptisms. This will be the hardest for our mission, but then he shared Alma 26:22 (see below), and said we need to do those and have faith.
- Study with our companions daily
- Obey with exactness

Surely it will work. I know that President Tavares is really an inspired man and I know that he has the capacity to change the mission if we give heed to his words. He then shared Jacob 1:19 (see below), which he used to inspire us to do better. I will do better. Your best can always be better.

Elder Titus

Alma 26:22 “Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentence, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.”

Jacob 1:19 “And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.”

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Even the Hard Times Have Been Good Times...

Gotta love that red dirt!

Walking the line with Elder McCombs

Okay, perhaps this wasn't the best place to sit down...


Not a super lot happened this week, but it was good nonetheless.

First of all, some crazy fad hit Brazil. Last week I think some popular person flew a kite and now everyone and their moms are flying kites. It’s weird. It’s not even that windy.

Brazil lost to the Netherlands, que triste (how sad)! Everyone is depressed. But it’s good, they needed to get humbled. Now they are more teachable. Haha, just like the Nephites losing to the Lamanites.

One of the sisters in our ward brought two of her sisters to church, Flavi and Flori. They want to get baptized, so that’s very cool. It’ll probably happen later in the month. This same sister, Irma Ophelia, is one of 19 siblings, all born to the same mom. And I thought Sister Kibbie, with 13, had a lot of kids. Holy cow!

Agosto has been out at the farm with his dad, so he didn’t go to church last Sunday. Also his mom didn’t go to church because she had to do some work at home (she’s a seamstress). But they promised to go this week. We met the less-active guy that lives with them, Henrique, and he’s cool. He’s 21, and he wants to serve a mission and stuff. He just needs to start going back to church again. We testified about how good the mission is, and how it’s the best two years of your life. He liked that. I have to admit that at first I really didn’t think the mission was all that wonderful, because it was super hard -- but looking back, even the hard times have been good times. So just imagine when all is going right!

Paz (peace),

Elder Titus