Monday, November 29, 2010
This week was swell. Thursday morning I got a call from our beloved zone leaders, Elder Carvalho and Elder Ingram, mainly with the intention of mooching off my cell phone minutes to call some Irmã (sister) in their ward about lunch because they used up all their minutes. But, they also called to inform me that I am now the leader of the largest district in the mission. There is a city in the state of São Paulo called Osvaldo Cruz, which has a little branch, and I guess the missionaries there had some sort of security problems and they were “emergency transferred" to Apucarana for a while. I have yet to hear what actually happened -- stay tuned. Elder Shaddick is now buddied up with Elder Campelo, and Elder Woodward is with Elder Fonseca, so we now have 8 in the district. I don’t know either of them, although I have heard a little about Elder Shaddick, and I think he´s got around a year on the mish and Elder Woodward has about 6 months. Well, I guess we´ll find out more tomorrow at District Meeting. Poor Elder Schirmer will be missing out on the fun because he will be going to Londrina to get fingerprinted and to have his visa renewed.
We found another part-member family. Sandra, who has been inactive for 3 years, lives in a house with her kids, and her brother Paulo, and his kids, Mikon, and Juliana. Paulo´s gonna be difficult because he likes the bar, if you know what I mean. But his son Mikon is cool. He’s 14 years old. So Sunday morning at 8:40 we go to pick them up to go to church. Their grandma goes to wake them up and out walks Juliana, half way clothed, stumbling out the door, drunk. She´s 13. She had come home at 5:00 AM from a party. She told us that Mikon didn’t want to wake up, so I asked if we could come in. When we got inside, we went into Mikon's room and pulled off his sheets and woke him up to go to church. Turns out that he had stayed up until 4:00 in the morning, waiting for Juliana to come home. We asked him why he didn’t go to the party, and he said that he doesn’t like loud noise. Well, that’s good. So after some delay we got him to go to church, and he enjoyed it. Good kid. Sucks about his family though. We´ll see what we can do to help.
Last week on the way to a lunch appointment that was quite far away, we met Jesus. Brazil is pretty cool. I don't know anywhere else where you can find so many random statues of Christ.
Speaking of Rio de Janeiro, my mother and I are SO glad that I didn’t get called to go there. Boy, it’s a mess. It’s literally a war between drug traffickers and the police/army. I believe they are trying to clean it up for the Olympics and the World Cup here in a few years. In the mean time, many people are dying, with tons of buses being burnt, and there is constant gun fire, not only in the ghettos, but in the city as well. Crazy.
Yea for peaceful Londrina!
(that’s my nickname . . .)
Monday, November 22, 2010
So, mom says that it is snowing in Covington! That’s weird. It seems that the weather has been kinda crazy everywhere. It’s actually not THAT hot here, whereas last year I wanted to die. And it’s not just because I’ve gotten used to it, its actually kinda cold here. But, that’s a good thing, and I’m not gonna complain. Have fun with the snow!
So the branch here in Arapóngas is pretty cool. It has an attendance of 100 people. It was established in 1996, and is currently the Stake Center for Apucarana, a much larger city south of us, about 30 minutes away. However, Apucarana is just finishing a monster church building (2 stories) there, so when the new building is complete, it will become the Stake Center, and we’ll just go back to having a branch building. The members here are all nice and cool. The pioneer member here is actually from Argentina, his name is Juan. He got baptized in 1957, and shortly after that, he immigrated to Brasil, where he has been helping out the church a lot. He is a very large man, and speaks a lot of “Portañol” (Português + Español), but it was fun to talk with him yesterday. We talked for an hour. Awesome dude.
Elder de Jesus, my companion who is fresh from the MTC, is doing awesome. He is obedient and hard working and I’m proud to call him my filho (son).
Well, I’m super out of time today.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Elders in the Arapóngas District
E aí? (means: what’s up? Pronounced: ee-eye-ee)
Surprise. We had a baptism on Saturday. So, the general authorities are having us use 2 new techniques that Elder de Jesus and I put into practice on Saturday. First of all, they are emphasizing the importance of missionaries visiting with less active people whose families are not all baptized. For example, there is a lady that was baptized who is inactive, and whose husband isn’t a member. So the missionaries are visiting with them. Well, when we first got here we had a meeting with the leadership of Arapóngas, and they sent me and Elder de Jesus to visit a less active family, that had not been to church in 10 years, but had been sealed in the temple. They have a daughter who had gone to a Young Women’s activity the previous week. We went there last week on Thursday the 4th. Turns out the family was cool. Bruna is the name of their daughter. She’s 15. We marked her baptism for the 13th of November which she accepted. It was weird though because she was initially excited, then got super weird and on Monday she didn’t wanna get baptized anymore. So we were like, “Yo, ask God if it’s what you should do.” The day before, she had told her parents “I’m no longer a girl of the world any more, I’m a girl of God.” So I used that to our advantage. I ripped out a picture of baptism from the 3rd lesson pamphlet and had her write that phrase on a sticky note that I had, and then had her tape the picture and the note on her closet. Well, she got an answer and got baptized on the 13th.
Technique #2, they want us to have the members do more of the actual baptizing. So we had Irmão Mario baptize Bruna. When Mario was investigating the church 10 years ago it was Bruna’s dad that helped him get baptized. It was cool to have Mario baptize Bruna. And Bruna’s family came to the baptism and is working hard on coming back to church.
Anyway, things are going really well here in Arapóngas, except all the streets here have bird names!!!!! It is so weird! Arapóngas is a bird. EVERY STREET has some freaky bird name. And some are kinda difficult, for example: Cambaxirra Rouxinol (cahm-buh-she-huh -- ho-she-nohl). Yeah. Does that not sound Japanese? Now say it as fast as you can, and imagine someone saying it to you at that speed and you having to write it down.
Monday, November 8, 2010
My Mission Office Pals: Elder Carter (secretary), me, Elder Galdino (AP), Elder Villela (finance)
My Home Boys: Elder Shirmer, Elder Prado, me and Elder de Jesus
The spectacular view from our 12th floor apartment!
Welcome to Arapóngas!!!
Well, we made it. So, Monday night we got to Londrina at midnight, and we didn’t have time to get any pizza from Pizza Hut. Bummer. I was really craving some. Oh well. Once we got there, we stayed awake even longer, talking -- and then Tuesday morning, we had to get up nice and early. 5:00 AM. All of the 11 trainers slept at the Assistant’s house in Londrina. Although, being 3 stories, it was not that cramped. Actually, the 3rd story is a patio, so it’s more like 2 stories. Then we all got ready and went to the mission home, aka President Tavares house. How weird it was to be there again, especifically* because it was almost exactly 1 year ago that I was in the exact opposite position -- I was the newbie. Me and Elder Nascimento, who arrived with me a year ago, reminisced a little. We arrived in a group of 17 back then, but it’s just the two of us from that group that are here now as trainers. So, we went upstairs to meet our newbies, and take part in a training session led by Elder Galdino. He did a good job. Then we all ate lunch together. After lunch was the presentation of trainers and trainees. There were 11 newbies, with only 3 Americans. In my group (a year ago) we had 11 Americans. Happily, more Brazilians are serving missions, and Americans are going to other countries. I heard that starting in January, there is suppose to be an arrival of South American elders (Argentina, Peru, Chile...). So that should be interesting. I’ve never met a Spanish speaking elder in Brazil.
Anyway, I’m training Elder de Jesus, from Brasilia. He gets crap from EVERYONE about his name, including me, but he’s cool about it. I tell everyone that there doesn’t exist a better companion than Jesus. He’s a super cool guy. He probably will be one of my best companions, because he’s obedient and willing. He was baptized 3 years ago, and within 4 days of being taught by the Elders!!! That’s not even allowed anymore!
Elder Schimer is training Elder Prado, from Goiás (which is close to Brasilia, in the middle of Brazil). The four of us are sharing an apartment on the 12th story of an old building right in the center of town. Awesome view! But, we probably won’t be here long, since the member who owned it, recently sold it.
Well after a couple of days of being lost, we are finally getting a handle on the area, and this next week should be good.
Oh yeah, Elder Campelo is also in my district. He’s in Apucarana. He was my companion 6 months ago in Bauru. He was my first junior companion.
* (from mom) I’m wondering if speaking Portuguese is starting to mess with his English. hehehe
Monday, November 1, 2010
Zeke feeding the monkeys
The little guys were very friendly!
A closer look. So, what do you think? Ugly or cute?
Hey! So I’m super short on time. Real quick, here’s what’s going on:
While I’m technically still in Assis, I’m outta this joint in like an hour. We have to go to Marilia first. Then I will be going with Elder Schirmer to Londrina, where we will be staying with my bro, Elder Galdino for the night in their 3 story house. We will make sure to get Pizza Hut delivered tonight. Yes, Londrina has a Pizza Hut! But, we’re not staying in Londrina. Tuesday morning we’re gonna pick up our filhos (children), yes I had a child. OK, maybe not. I get to train a greenie. We’ll have our little trainer’s briefing from President Tavares. Then we’re off to our new area, which is the city of Arapóngas (are-uh-pohn-guhz), which was closed – but, we will be reopening it. So it should be fun. I can’t wait to get to the bus station in Arapóngas and have NO IDEA at all of where to go. Well, pray for us. And I believe that Elder Schirmer and his “son” will be living with us in the same apartment, but I’m not 100% sure about that, either. I hear Arapóngas is a big city, 103,000 peeps, and that there is some sort of established church there. We’ll see. Oh, and I will still be the District Leader. I guess President is trying to kill me!!! I have never opened an area before, and I've never trained a greenie, and I'm still really new at this DL stuff!!! Welp, should be interesting!
Okay, on to the monkeys. So we drove out to this place blindly, just looking for monkeys, which there are not exactly a lot of them in southern Brazil. Then, like 40 minutes later, we see a “Deer Crossing” sign, and there were a ton of little monkeys in the middle of the road. Not really sure what’s up with the deer crossing sign, but I AM in Brazil, so things like that don’t really bug me that much anymore. I have yet to see a deer. And will never see a deer, because there ARE NO deer in Brazil. Where they got the sign, I don’t know, they may have stolen it from Buckley, WA. We stopped the car and all these freaky monkeys started surrounding us and holding out their hands. So we got out and starting feeding them. Zeke who drove, left the sack of bananas on the hood, and one of the flippin monkeys stole the bag of banana´s, that little devil! So we got out some crackers, and that’s what they ate. They were fun and super friendly. I always thought that monkeys could never be ugly, but these little freakers were, but still cute at the same time.
Before I forget, p-days were changed to Mondays! So check the blog late Monday or Tuesdays for updates!
Welp, feijão legal*, more info next week.
*Feijão legal, means “cool beans,” but that phrase actually makes no sense in Portuguese.