Mission Slideshow

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Week #2

Boom! So my keyboard is broken again, which is not so cool at all. So to answer moms question about the mail, you need to address any mail to me with my name, box 11, district 15-a. I sent a letter home today to all you guys and I did not understand the mail lady when she asked me a question. So I said yes and it turns out I said yes to priority mail. She put 7 stamps on my letter, and charged me 4 reais ( brazilian dollars)! Crazy! But it should get there soon. I havent received any mail from anyone yet, so I think that first letter was lost or something. But please, everyone and anyone send me mail! Zach Reeves (friend of Asa's from our Stake) showed up this week and he was able to send a letter home to his parents when I couldn't, so I gave him a paper to send that hopefully his parents give to you. It describes how to send me mail. But seriously, I would love tons of mail! So this week was great! Sunday was fantastic, and I was able to pick the hymns for my branch.

I also get to conduct How Firm a Foundation for this friday when the Area 70 President comes! Cool right! The elders here found out I can sing so every night they ask me to go into the stairwell and sing a few songs. It sounds like a catherdal in there. So I sing some hymns, nearer my God to Thee, the Halo theme, and even the song in Lord of the Rings that Pipen sings in the last movie. All the brazilians think that I sing amazing, but honestly, I'm not that good. (he's being modest) My brazilians roomates LOVE my iPod music, especially Eric Whitacre. A few nights ago we listened to "Sleep" and almost all of us were crying. Elder Gomes said it reminded him of family. It was touching.

Man, I can already read the scriptures in Portuguese but I also have my English ones for reference. It is way cool but I still cant understand most of the brazilians though when they talk. They are all crazy fast speakers, but I get by. There are about 6 brazillian elders that have become really good friends with me. I think they rock! Too bad they only spend 3 weeks here instead of nine like us english speakers. Because there is only Elder Rex and I in class, we get to practice teaching a lot! We taught at least 8 lessons in class for practice. It was awesome!! Preach my gospel is so simple, yet so invaluable. ROMAN, READ IT NOW!!! STUDY IT!!!! It is way important!!

I am just having a really good time. But I already have some advice for Roman and Mom for his mission. The CTR clothing is.... okay. Most missionaries have a lot of problems with the stuff.. Luckily, I havent, but still. And Dad you were right, some of the stuff I have I won't need.

Elder Rex is a funny guy. He has decided to read the Book of Mormon in 2 weeks. He started last week and is already in Helamen!!!! Crazy! I spend all my personal study on 3 chapters of Alma, and he reads 20! And he understands it all! But that is okay, I love my scriptures and they have become so special to me (and quite colorful from all the highlighting). So I have some bad news.... I cant email any pictures home until I get into the field. The computers here at the MTC are too slow to send pics. Lame-sauce!

So today we, as in a bunch of us from my floor, were out walking from the store and I ran into a spiderweb. I told them to check for a spider on my head and ALLLL of them, as in all 6 of them, started to just slap and rub my head! Never invite 19 year old missionaies to hit your head. Anyways. I guess I dont have that many stories to tell this week. It was much quieter. OH wait! It is cloudy here! Cloudy and 60 degrees! It feels just like home and I LOVE it. All the brazilians are freezing and I am in a short sleeve and just ecstatic. Haha!
With love, Elder Asa Laws.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Week #1 - CTM (MTC)

So the keyboard I have is broken so I cannot add paragraphs or anything, so this letter is going to be one big long paragraph. Man, this first week has been such an amazing and spiritual experience. From the moment I left till right now, I feel the spirit constantly. There are a few reasons for that. One: my companion! Elder Rex is my companion here at the MTC in São Paulo and he is the man! His prayers are so amazing and I feel like I've got the best companion in the whole MTC. He keeps me on track. Its way cool to be with him because we are the only ones in our district! So for classes we are the only two in our class with the teacher. It is like having a personal tutor. Two: my classes are the best! My teachers are Brother Vilas-boas and Israel. Both of them are really young and Brazilian. Vilas-boas went to Provo on his mission, and he loved it! I always thought of Provo as the weirdest mission possible, But i have a new perspective now. For many who have never been to the States it can be a real blessing. (Sorry about my spelling, Portuguese is messing with my english skills.) Three: Portuguese is freaking hard! Wholly cow, I am totally lost. It makes Spanish look like a breeze. I can read relatively well already but the Brazilians speak so fast it sounds like mumbling! They slur all the words together and I don't know what anything means! I was really having a hard day on Friday, but I feel a lot better today. Trials are a way for the Lord to bless your life, so Portuguese will eventually be a blessing.

So I have to tell you about yesterday and how amazing it was. We were assigned to study and talk about Hope next Sunday. So yesterday, Tuesday, we decided to use some study time to prepare. Wow, me and my companion learned so much about hope, faith, charity, work, and obedience. Eventually all of it lead up to me reading about how Mormon says he has the power and authority to speak to us. Abinadi says the same thing. It made me think about how if you if have faith enough to ask and receive, like Enos does, how great must be your faith to be able to have the direct authority and power of God to not only ask, but do the lords will. Well that was so amazing to me, but what really touched me was the devotional last night. We listened to a devotional from Elder Holland and he said elders suck at studying, planning, and having the power and authority. He said we all are given the authority when we are set apart, but too few missionaries have the real power to touch the hearts of everyone. With the command and conviction only Elder Holland has, he told us that we had to have that power. That this is outright war between the powers of the universe, and as volunteer, enlisted soldiers of God we must have that power. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I was basically told by an apostle of the Lord that my purpose as a missionary was not to be anything less than Moroni, or Mormon, or Abinadi, or Ammon, or Nephi. I was told that nothing less than my full faith, hope, and obedience of God was completely required of me so i could truly be a tool for the Lords work. That was huge!! Anyways, I forgot to say before I left PDX I got to watch the F-15s take off in front of us. Way cool. Love you all!!!! Elder Laws

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Leaving for Brazil!

There's more pictures here than narrative because they speak for themselves...

A few last pictures at home with the family!

Arriving at the airport. He was still okay but starting to get nervous.

Checking in! He was getting a little more nervous.

We ran into a little hiccup with his ticket so I had to call the Missionary Travel office. This got him pretty darn nervous! We got it all worked out though and he calmed down.

Our wonderful neighbor works for the airlines and was able to get Rick and I passes to go back with Asa to the gate and wait for him to board the plane. It was such a blessing to be able to spend that last hour with him and see him actually get on the plane. 

Waiting for Rick to get his pass so we can go to security.

Hugging Hanna...

Hugging Kati...

Being man handled... I mean hugged by Roman...

Waiting for the plane at the gate. The plane was a half hour late and at this point Asa was getting VERY anxious. (Rick doesn't look too happy either)

He then boarded the plane at noon and flew to Atlanta, GA where he was to meet up with other missionaries headed to Sao Paulo, Brazil. From there he flew to Brazil and arrived at 4am pst on the 13th. We received an email from the MTC President around noon today telling us that he had arrived safely and was now in their care. He had been assigned a companion and a room and was getting settled in. This picture is of all the missionaries that reported in today. We are so thrilled!!!

Open House/Farewell Party

Asa was not able to have a formal "farewell" on Sunday because it was Fast Sunday but he was given the last 10 min to speak and bear his testimony. It was beautiful and he was very emotional and the spirit was very strong. We couldn't have asked for anything better. Later that night we had an open house/farewell party and it was great!

We had a couple of pillow cases laid out on the counter for people to sign and write any las words of wisdom (with sharpie). Asa then took the pillow cases to Brazil with him to use!  What a great way to keep a little bit of home with him each day!

Thanks to everyone that came and said goodbye. It really meant a lot to Asa.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The day before I fly to Sao Paulo, Brazil

Hello Everyone!

We had an interesting morning of packing and repacking and repacking my ONE piece of luggage. Yes, that's right, ONE piece!  When my papers first came, they said I could take two pieces of luggage not weighing more than 50 lbs each. So we bought two suitcases and all the stuff on the list from my mission papers and it all fit perfectly and under weight. Then last Tues (a week before I leave) I get my final visa paperwork and passport and find out that the Manaus mission (and one other) can only take ONE piece of luggage and it cannot weigh more than 44 lbs. It's because the Manaus mission area is the size of Alaska and to get to different areas for transfers I'll be going by canoe or on a little puddle jumper plane. Luckily I get to also take a backpack as a carry on which is packed extremely tight and weighs in at 20lbs all by itself! This is all the stuff I get to own for the next two years.

I leave at noon tomorrow and fly to Atlanta, GA and then on to Sao Paulo, Brazil. I'll arrive the Wed morning around 9am local time. This is going to be an epic adventure and I can't wait to get it started!