Monday, April 25, 2011

Everyone knew about the baptisms, except the people who were to be baptized!

Note from mom: Last week Elder Titus didn't send his blog on Monday, as he usually does, and I left a note that said he had not blogged -- however, he sent it the next day. So, if you missed reading last week's post, be sure to check it out. It's a good one!

Easter lunch!

Baptism of Vitoria and Jennifer

Awesome birthday cake we made for Jennifer

Wow we had a GREAT week!!

President Tavares challenged the Londrina mission to have the best weekend that our mission has ever had, and it happened! We set a mission record of 38 baptisms in one week! Guess what the best part of that is? Seven of those came from the tiny little zone of Cascavel, and five of those came from me and Elder Cavalcanti. There is a city 2 hours away from here called Palotina that has a chapel, but no missionaries, and they wanted an elder to go there because they had some non-members who were attending church. So Elder Cavalcanti went there with the stake president and walked away with 3 baptisms. Everyone knew about the baptisms, except the people who were to be baptized! The stake president told the branch that they were going to have a baptism that weekend. So, the branch president called everyone and they filled the font. Then he walked into the house of the people who had been attending church, carrying 3 white baptismal suits and they accepted baptism. Amazing faith. Crazy!

Meanwhile, I stayed in Cascavel where we are teaching a family of five, but the parents aren’t married, and it’s taking forever to get it ready. They have 2 daughters that are baptismal age, Jennifer and Vitoria, who were so excited to get baptized on the 30th, but I asked the family, “Why wait until the 30th? Let’s do it this Sunday!” And we did. We are working hard with the parents to get everything ready so they can join their daughters next month. The baptismal service for the girls was really spiritual and everyone was crying. It was also Jennifer’s 11th birthday and we made her a cake. She told us that it was her best birthday ever. ahhh.

Well my time on the computer is even shorter now because I have to pass the numbers on to the secretaries, amongst other things.

Have a great week!
Elder Titus

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

. . . the winds of change shifted again!

Top row left to right: Elders Finato, Edimicio, Griner, Ghormley.
Bottom row left to right: Elders Ealey, Titus, Cavalcanti, de Oliveira

Olá friends,

I’m here in Cascavel. This week has been one of the most hectic weeks of my mission. So last week, after arriving at the bus station in Londrina with Elder McCombs, I called the Assistants to the President and asked where we would be sleeping, and they didn’t know, but said they were on their way. Then Elder Ayres gets all excited and asked me if I had heard the news. I said no, then he said, “Cascavel is no longer a district and because of the arrival of new missionaries, it has turned into a zone!!!” I said “Yea! Cool!” Then he waited a few seconds and said “and you have been called to be a zone leader!!!” . . . Well, so that’s probably some of the craziest news I’ve heard on my mission. I was hoping NOT to be one because it's tough work! But now that I’ve been called, I’m committed to give 110%. I’m zone leaders with Elder Cavalcanti (cav-aoo-cahn-chee) who is in my “leaving the mission group” (we all leave on August 17th). There are only 4 companionships in our zone, but we are united, strong and determined to baptize... a lot.

After that, we met up with some other missionaries and headed to the house we would be sleeping at. Just outside the bus station was a tribe of Indians, cooking dinner over a fire and making baskets to sell. We approached them and got to know them. They speak Portuguese and a native language called Guaraní. They are pretty civilized, but still live in villages. They are even Christian. So we took the opportunity to teach them about the restoration. They liked the part about the Book of Mormon, but unfortunately they don’t know how to read. Dang it! I wanted to baptize a Lamanite!

The next day we went to the trainers meeting and the assistants were busy with something else, so President Tavares chose me to translate for him, which wasn’t the first time, but it was the first time on a large scale basis. There were some 50 missionaries there, but it was really fun.

Then we had an 8 hour bus ride to Cascavel. Cascavel is a cool city, modern and clean, with about 300,000 people. There are 2 strong wards. Our ward is the biggest ward in the mission, with an average attendance of 190 members,and they are making plans to divide the ward, so everyone is stoked to work hard. The members are super nice. I wish I could talk about the investigators we have here, but I’m short on time. Needless to say we don’t knock doors here because we get a lot of member references.

On Saturday, the assistants came here to do some splits with me and Elder Cavalcanti. It went well. I went with Elder Ayres, and it was cool. He’s a great missionary! He has an uplifting personality, and is really excited.

On Monday morning we got a ride with President Tavares to the city of Iguaçu Falls for zone conference. It’s another 2 hours away. Let me say that the city of Iguaçu Falls is the hottest, most humid place that I have ever stepped foot in. Elder Ghormley calls it “a living hell on earth.” It has something to do with the falls and the monstrous lake the dam makes. They say it changed the climate forever. Either way, lets just say I’m glad I’m not serving there.

On the way back we took a charter bus, and just outside of Iguaçu Falls the cops stopped us to do a drug test because it’s on the border of Argentina and Paraguay, and there are no border police, so it’s a port for drug trafficking. A really mean looking cop opened the door and unleashed his German Shepherd, and he went running and sniffing through the bus and the people, including getting a good whiff of me in a strange place. Thankfully there weren’t any drugs, and we were let free. Had there been drugs all of the passengers would have been taken to the police station and interviewed.

So, here were are now. Currently Elder Cavalcanti is in another city that doesn’t have missionaries, but has a branch, called Palotina (shut down by my trainer Elder da Silva.....). I guess they are preparing some people to be baptized!!

Well, I wrote a lot! So hope you have a great week -- more details next week!!!

Elder Titus

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sorry . . . again. No email from Elder Titus. And no hints about what is happening from other missionary moms. Let's hope we get to hear from him next week. My guess is that for some reason, he was very busy today. Thanks for reading! And check back next week. -- Mom

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Winds of Change are Blowing!

Did you know that the Tropic of Capricorn passes right by Arapongas?

This is the entrance into Arapongas. A fitting photo for my last day here.

Sorry for not writing last week. I was at a leadership conference in Londrina and we only had time to write a few sentences. However, if it helps you feel better, I can say that it was a very spiritually uplifting meeting.

So, I just found out that I’m getting transferred!! I’m going to Cascavel! (Titus Pronunciation Guide: cahs-cuh-veu), which translated means “Rattlesnake.” Yes! Arapongas has been good to me but it’s time to move on to greener pastures. The weirdest thing is that I think it will be my LAST AREA, seeing that I only have 3 more transfers to go! That’s a crazy thought. This coming Sunday marks 4 months until I go home. It’s passing by too fast. There’s still way too much to get done!!!
Anyway, so there are also a ton of changes happening in my current district. Elder J. Lima is going to take my place as district leader (he only has 9 months left!). Elder McCombs is going to TRAIN!!!! And Elder Morris is going to take my spot with Elder Siqueira. They are brothers since I trained them both. Elder Morris is also now turning "senior." I’m so happy for him. I still remember when I first got him. He has changed so much. However, I still think that people from Mississippi shouldn’t speak Portuguese.... haha. It confuses the Brazilians.

Well my friends, I have to go pack and get ready for my trip. First I’m going with Elder McCombs to Londrina, then I’ll be meeting up with Elder Finato to go from Londrina to Cascavel, a stones throw away -- just a 7 HOUR BUS RIDE!!!!!! It’s the second southern-est city in our mission, an hour north of Iguaçu Falls (a 7th Wonder of the World), bordering Paraguay and Argentina.

Elder Titus
Check this out! I have my own line of jeans and didn't even know it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sorry, Elder Titus did not email us today. I heard from another Missionary Mom that there are 24 incoming elders from the States, arriving tomorrow (Tuesday, 4/5) and the Londrina Mission is opening up 6 new areas. If that is correct, then I'm sure the existing elders were very, very busy today. With all the Visa troubles, this is very exciting news! Be sure to check back next Monday and hopefully we'll get some details! Thanks for reading! (mom)