Monday, October 25, 2010


This looks like fun!

Yo yo yo,

So, I’m good now, settled down, calm, controlled. Only thinking about cycling every now and then, instead of always.

Brazilian presidential elections are this Sunday. I don’t really like either of the candidates. They all seem corrupt to me, just like home, haha.

Well, Flavia finally returned, and she and Flora are progressing toward baptism, and if Flavia can stop smoking for sure, they can get baptized this weekend. They have made a ton of progress already though. Jozi, however, got a bad case of depression and is slowly recuperating, and I fear that I will not be there to see her get baptized since transfers are this coming Monday. And if I don’t get transferred I’m gonna pull out my hair. I talked to Elder Galdino* yesterday and he thinks I’m going to Foz do Iguaçu, but I’m not so sure. It would be neat, but I hear it gets super hot there -- as if it’s not hot enough, gracious. I think I’m going to Maringa. TREES, SHADE!!!! That would sure be nice during summer time!

Today we´re actually going to do something super fun for p-day. Since we have various cities in our area, we can travel a little bit. There is a city called Florinea that has some cool things to see, principally, on the way there, there are a ton of banana trees, and there are MONKEYS!!! So today a member is going to take us out there and we´re gonna see some monkeys! Also, there is a big river that separates the states of Sao Paulo and Parana. So we´re gonna see that, too. But unfortunately for ya´ll, you have to wait until next week to see the coolness.

This past week some guy asked the weirdest question, like a nonbeliever type of question: “So how do you explain about when Mary cheated on Joseph?” Haha, good grief. Really? Like, Mary, the mother of Jesus? Well okay, never heard that one before, but nonetheless, I explained to him that it wasn’t like that. Mary didn’t have an affair with the Holy Ghost.

Well, have a good week!


*Elder Galdino is one of the AP’s (Assistant to the President). He was one of my first companions, and my mom has kind of “adopted” him since he lost both of his parents this past March.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My First Case of Homesickness!

Missing the action . . .

. . . The Finish Sprint . . .

. . . The Podium

This week was HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!! Friday night when we were walking home through the centro of the city, guess what I saw!!! A bunch of guys setting up for a UCI professional bike race, “O Tour do Brasil.” And Stage One was going to end in Assis, on Saturday morning!!! Dang! Commence homesickness.... now!

Okay, well no way in heck was I going to miss it. Luckily it was in the morning, so we still got in our proselyting time. It was a very nicely done set-up. It was all decked out and they had everything except righteous techno music blasting at the finish. Oh, and the crowd had NO idea what was going on. Hence, NO ONE had cowbells, or even clapped. I was the only lunatic screaming when they came in at the finish.

There were 14 Brazilian teams (did not even know that Brazil HAD professional cycling), and 7 foreign teams. 5 South American teams, one US team, and one German team. “Sutter Home Cycling Team” was the name of the American team, and one of them took 4th place.

Anyway, it was cool, and I loved every bit of it. But, it came with one horrible consequence, that is that I’m a little “trunky,” or homesick – for the first time on my mission. I should say WAS homesick, because I’m over it now. It was interesting that I couldn’t focus at all for 2 days, just all my cycling memories. That finally made me understand something. In May of 2009, before I got my mission call, I had a very detailed dream. In the dream, I took out my call from the envelope and read out loud, “Brussels Belgium Mission.” Well, we all know that didn’t happen, and I always wondered why. Holy cow, now I understand! Belgium is one of the cycling capitals of the world, and if I would have been sent there I would have died of homesickness. And now I have grown to really appreciate cycling more since not being able to ride a bike for the last 14 months.

I was momentarily distracted -- but I'm back on target now!

Well, out of time.

Elder Titus

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A large Catholic Cathedral in Assis

Wow this week I swear we did nothing! Basically, because we didn’t. Monday we had district meeting, and Elder Morris got sick and didn’t wanna work. Wednesday was p-day. Thursday was another district meeting. And Friday, I had to go to Marilia to do a couple of baptismal interviews for our Zone Leaders. Then we slept there and came back on Saturday. So, as far as the work goes, I’ve had better weeks, that’s for sure.

Here is a picture of the Catholic Cathedral in downtown Assis. It’s bigger than it looks. There are like 20 or so catholic churches in Assis. And just one church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm anxious to get back to work!

Last night we ate dinner with a family from the ward, and the sister made some lemonade from scratch. It was really good and stuff, but there was one minor problem that I noticed as I was drinking. There were sugar ants floating in the water . . . after that first sip, I put the cup down. She asked me how it was, and I was like, “Mmmmmmm, Irmã.....muito bom....” (translation: “Mmmmmm, Sister….very good…”) Anyway, I was thirsty, so I drank the rest, too. Here’s the key when drinking ant juice -- just close your eyes, you can’t really taste them, and make sure you bless the water so you don’t get a disease and die. I love Brazil!

Well gotta run!

Elder Titus

PS The picture below is for Sister Hale and Sister Startin. They asked my mom if I really ate that much açaí -- you betcha! And straight out of the tub, too!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hey hey hey,

So I’m finally returned to the promised land, Ássis. It´s gonna be fun now. A week without working here has put a slight crimp in our work, but, it shall be fixed, because now I’m super motivated to work, work, work. I have some new techniques to use now.

Last week was fun. On Monday, I did my first district meeting, which was cool. It went by super fast because we got there a little late. District meeting has the following activities: hymn, prayer, recitation of missionary purpose, testimony, 5 minutes of reading the missionary manual, the baptismal ladder (6 steps with 6 weekend dates, and the people written down who are scheduled to be baptized on those dates), then a training session based on the necessities of the district (ie: we need to learn about finding people) given by me, then a practice. We close the meeting with a hymn and a prayer. So yeah, it’s like that.

Then on Tuesday through Friday, I participated in a leadership training conference with President Tavares, and it was a blast. We learned a lot. There were 8 topics that we were being trained on, and we took 2 each day. The meetings got over at 6:00 PM and then we went and taught in Marilia like normal missionaries. The topics were:

Teach the Doctrine of Christ
The Role of the Spirit in Conversion
Revelation Through Prayer
Revelation Through The Book of Mormon
Revelation Through Church Attendance
Teach People, Not Lessons
We Invite, They Accept, We Follow Up
How to Start Teaching

Friday night we went to Jacarezinho, and then had the baptismal interview Saturday morning. João Pedro passed the interview. He was the first baptism in Jacarezinho in 10 months! Then we went back to Marilia to watch General Conference, unfortunately we only made it to watch the last part of the 2nd session. We also missed the Priesthood Session in the morning, but I got to watch all of the Sunday sessions. I especially liked the talk by Elder Larry R. Lawrence about parenting, even though I’m not a parent. It was still super good. And I liked Elder David A. Bednar’s talk about “Receiving the Holy Ghost.” And of course I really enjoyed President Monson´s talk about gratitude. It´s definitely something we could all work on.

I also had an interesting experience after his talk, which left me with an assurance that he is indeed the Lord’s Prophet. I meant no disrespect to God (by continually asking if things are true that I already know are true), but I asked Him if President Monson is indeed His Prophet. It was out of necessity, since as a missionary I have to testify multiple times daily that he is a prophet -- and while I have always believed that he was and is, I never actually asked God. So, I did, and I could feel in my heart that he is. Words can’t express the feelings that I felt -- they have to be felt individually. The Spirit bore witness to me in that moment and confirmed in my heart the things which I desired; feelings that were even stronger than when I asked if “The Book of Mormon” is true. I have never doubted that President Monson was a prophet, but now I know, because the Holy Ghost has made it known to me. You know why I like our church? Because the members aren’t following it blindly by the persuasive words of men, but rather, by the suave voice of the Spirit, because we honestly want to have a certainty that it’s not just another church, but THE true church of Christ. I actually ask everyone I teach to ask me why I follow our church, and then I tell them it's because I prayed about it. BURNED!

Okay, anyway so then Sunday night we headed to Ourinhos to spend the night there (on the floor) so we could have another district meeting Monday morning. Afterwards, we rode the bus to Assis, and got back at 5:00 PM. However, Elder Morris was sick, so we didn’t work at all.

Tuesday we saw this huge toad just chillin’!!!!

Oh so busy, but that´s life.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sorry, it's Derek's mom ... again. After checking my emails all day long on Saturday, I finally received a brief response from Derek late in the afternoon. He did not give me very many details, saying that time was short, but he assured me he would fill us in this Wednesday, regarding the conference he attended and how things are going. In my email to him, I asked how he was feeling, and his response back was:

"On fire, ready to convert the world!"

I'm anxious to read what he sends on Wednesday. Stay tuned!