Monday, August 15, 2011

My feelings right now are rather tranquil.

Baptism of Raulino and Elaine

Missionary Farewell, Titus Style

Hey, My Favorite Blog Stalkers,

Welp, my last week in the field has arrived. Currently I’m here in an internet place with some bros from my MTC district, Elder Ingram, Elder Parrott and Elder Yuma. We’re just chillin in Londrina, waiting to be interviewed by President. Tomorrow is another day to do whatever and it sounds like me and Elder Barbosa are going to go to Ibipora (my very first area) to see some families since we have the whole day to do nothing.

My feelings right now are rather tranquil. I’m sad and excited at the same time, resulting in quietness. Everyone is kinda quite. There are 15 of us leaving. It was easy and hard to leave Cascavel -- by far was my best area. The members there are what make it happen. I took a lot of pictures, but this computer is so slow -- just to get the baptismal picture of Raulino and Elaine took forever, so for now, that’s all you get. The secretaries called me on Saturday morning telling me that I was going to travel to Londrina on Sunday after church, meaning I would miss lunch and the baptism. But, then they changed it to midnight. So I got to eat a nice lunch and participate in the baptismal service. I said goodbye to Elder de Jesus, my beloved, and Elder Azevedo and Elder Stinocher, and got on the bus to meet Elder Parrott and Elder Pinheiro who were coming up from Foz to Londrina. Usually it sucks to travel during the night, because it’s hard to sleep on buses, because of the bumpy roads, and it doesn’t help when they put us at the back of the bus by the bathroom again, but it was actually okay. We even got a non-stop ride too, cutting the time from 9 hours to 6 hours. That was a blessing. I even slept a little.

It still hasn’t really hit me yet that I’m going home. I know I’m going to, but it doesn’t seem real yet. Kinda like a dream, but I think that when I get on the plane it will begin to sink in.

My mission has been a great adventure, full of experiences with all sorts of emotions. Getting on the plane Wednesday morning I will leave a part of my heart behind. I love Brasil, the countryside and the people, and I would love to stay, but sooner or later we all gotta leave.

Next week I’ll share my testimony because right now, we need to leave. So until then, be comforted by this scripture in 2 Corinthians 7:6 "Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus."

Elder “for the last time” Titus


Monday, August 8, 2011

Fernanda was excited to get baptized, but . . .

One last photo of a pretty Brazilian bug. Jealous?

Baptism! Elder de Jesus, Ragny (Wanderlei's daughter), Wanderlei, Fernanda (niece) and Marlene (and me)

Staring death in the eyes (missionary death, of course).

So here I am, week 103. The last week as a full time missionary. Strange, to say the least. But it’s not over yet!

There is a cool member family in our ward. The father, Wanderlei, used to be a Vice Pastor of a common church here, and they are really involved in missionary work. We have been teaching some of his extended family for quite some time. However, the parents were not divorced from their previous marriages, and live far from the chapel. However, their 12 year old daughter (Fernanda) became interested and went to church. And she has been to church 4 times. We were trying to get her baptized, but the parents were kinda reluctant because of the commitment to go to church every week and some other stuff. Fernanda was excited to get baptized, but then lost her enthusiasm and stopped going to church for a few weeks. Thursday morning we had an idea. We went to Wanderlei’s house and invited them to invite her to family home evening at their house. The following day (with our intention to baptize her on Sunday), they agreed and she went to their home for FHE. We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ and laid 5 pamphlets on the floor signifying faith, repentance, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We had everyone stand up and said, all those who have faith, take a step forward. Each one moved forward. Those who have repented, take another step forward. Who has been baptized? Go forward, and so on. The whole family and us made it to the end representing the kingdom of God – with the exception of Fernanda. We said, “Hey Fernanda, what happened?” Anyway the activity kinda made it sink into her head the importance of baptism. We asked her if she had a desire to be baptized, and she said “Yes.” Then we invited her to be baptized on Sunday. She stayed in silence, looking at the ground, for like 2 minutes. Finally she said, “I don’t know if my mom is going to let me go to church.” We said, “But if she lets you, would you be baptized on Sunday?” And she said, “Yes.”

The next day we planned to talk to the mom, but no one was sure if she would be home. We were on our way there, when I decided to stop and pray. I asked that everything would go well; that we would find the mom at home and that she would be supportive. Almost immediately, as I ended the prayer, Wanderlei called me telling us that the mom was at home waiting for us, and was going to be supportive. We got there and she was really chill about it all. She signed the form, and all went well.

After the baptism on Sunday, a bird flying overhead pooped on my arm. Nice.

Rauling and Elaine got sick, but they are excited to get baptized this Sunday. She even came to church in a dress, which was a first.

In other news: I go home next week.

Elder Titus

Bird droppings adorn my arm. I'm definitely feelin' the love.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The lesson was waaayyy spiritual . . .

Streets of Santa Cruz prepped for paving. Elder de Jesus dodges a bullet.


My keyboard is moist . . . why is it so humid??? It has been raining non-stop for the last 4 days!!! But, in short, my complaining will have an end.

We had a very good week this week despite the rain and the lack of baptizing. However the mission has been on fire. We baptized 150 people in the month of July!!! The small zone of Cascavel baptized 10.

For many months we have been teaching a family where everyone is a member of the Church, except the dad, Josmar. He used to be really Catholic. He is not legally divorced from his past wife because she didn’t wanna sign the form. However, he called her this week and told her that he is following a new religion and wants to get baptized -- but he needs to get married first, and for that to happen she needs to sign the paper. And she agreed!!! Unfortunately it’s gonna take about another month or so for the marriage paperwork to come through. I won’t be here, but that’s fine.

With the division of the ward we got a new investigator family; Raulino and Elaine. They are what we call “eternal investigators.” They are a middle aged couple. Raulino is the husband, and wants to be baptized. However, Elaine was a little hard hearted, being a practicing Catholic, but finally, finally, she got an answer to her prayers. We did their baptismal interview Sunday after church (without them knowing) and they are both ready, but we didn’t mark a date. We went to their house in the afternoon and taught them about the atonement with the Bishop (he is their neighbor) and committed them to stop drinking coffee forever and being baptized on Saturday. The lesson was waaayyy spiritual, as we read Luke 22 about Gethsemane and what we need to do to have Christ’s sacrifice valid in our salvation. Eight months of investigating the church, having the missionaries going to their house almost weekly -- and finally making the decision to follow through now -- MIRACLE!

More good news, the neighborhood of Santa Cruz is getting un-ghettoized!!!! Another miracle! It’s getting PAVED!!!!! (Elder de Jesus in photo above, is dodging a bullet... lol.)

Holy cow, my mission is going by sooo fast.


Elder “while I can” Titus