Mission Slideshow

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Week #11


Wow, this week flew on by for me. It feels like only yesterday I was writing and now here I am again.

Okay, so this week I decided that I was going to take a page out of Nellis (cousin) book and CLEAN!!!!!!! I could not take it anymore. I took my bleach, a rag, and a long time to clean out our fridge. SOOOO MUCH FILTH!!!! It was a black fridge with mold. Now it is a beautiful white fridge. YES!!!! WINNING. And, since I was already hot, sweaty, and cleaning, I decided too clean our shower as well. Also, a very good looking shower now if I do say so myself. So yea, that is one point for me against the filth!

We also had 2 baptisms this past week! Leandro and Jefferson. Jefferson is a 9 year old boy who is sooo smart. I think he might know more about the gospel than me. Leandro is 24 or 28ish and his family was already members. But he finally was baptized and he was crying. So spiritual! You could just feel the joy. His dad, Clark, is a Marine for the Brazil Navy and he is not a member of the Church so we still go onto the Navy base to talk with him.

On saturday we had lunch with a member, Antonio, and he is RICH!!! He has his own private section on a small river! We had a BBQ down on the river with him and a ton of other members and Clark was there! I was able to talk with him about the military, Manaus, and just build a relationship with him. It was a great party. There was some really good fish and they cooked me a STEAK!! Oh yea, so darn good.

Later that night was a fiesta for the ward. We went to say hi and talk with any visitors and Clark was there again! So we spoke words and I just watched the party. Brazil is a country of partiers. Thats all they want to do. Party and DANCE. Every single person here can dance really well. It was just a wonderful experience to see the culture here.

On sunday, we had lunch at Clarks house on the base. It was pretty good food but what was cool was, he shared with us some photos about his motorcycle trip he did across Brazil!!!!! I was amazed! It was dirty and hot and he looked like it was a blast. I told him about our motorcycle trip to Alaska when I was 12 and he thought that was crazy!!!! Way long! I really like Clark and hopefully we can help him find faith in Christ.

This week I had an allergy attack and my face was all runny and I was sneezing a ton. I did not want to go out but we did anyways. I was silently praying for help with dealing with the day. I was hot and I felt terrible. We made a contact with a new family and I thought "great, I am just going to ruin this by being sick." But as soon as we sat down in there house I was fine; as if nothing had happened. No sniffles or anything! What a miracle! When you are on the Lords errand, he will always provide a way. As soon as we left the house, I started sneezing again, but for every lesson we had the rest of the day, I always was fine while teaching. Incredible!

So, I finally bought oatmeal on Monday and now I get up and make us breakfast every morning IT IS SOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I missed oatmeal. I have to boil the water, mix it all, add sugar, and whatever. But I like to cook now. I also made us some eggs yesterday. YUM.

So monday night, Soelberg decided we should go up some random street. We talked to the first guy we met and he was Marcos. Marcos is 19 and he just moved here with is friend, Junhior, and they are working at the Marine base. They both accepted us in to their house and we talked with them about the Book of Mormon. Both of them thought is was so cool to have another book about Christ to help us and they both commited to reading. We go back tomorrow I think to talk more with them. But it was just so cool that my companion was listening to the spirit enough to know to go up that street. Way awesome!

We also finally got into a house that we have been going by almost every day. Isnyra is an investigator that we just can never get ahold of. Her husband left her and she is just really looking for help. We finally got in to talk with her and she had some great questions. For the first time, I responded and tried to speak in Portuguese during a lesson for longer than 2 or 3 sentences. With my companions help, I helped explain about what is important from Gods perspective. Not Cars or money, but families, joy, and following Christs example.

What a good week. We are working hard to help this area. I love you all!

Elder Asa Laws

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Week #10 - Crazy week!

So here is the scoop. My mission is freaking hard, physically. Wonderful but really hard and it has been great. My area, Mauazinho is really stretching and pushing me to the limit as far as my mission experience goes. I was warned in the MTC that Manaus is THE hardest mission in Brazil and as it turns out, Mauazinho its a pretty grueling area. Also, I am part of a new training program that is 12 weeks long instead of 6 weeks (two transfers instead of one). So I will be here for a while...

Mauazinho: So this is the scoop about my area. It is industrial and a ghetto, not a suburb. People get shot here but the missionaries are safe because everyone is a member of the church.... they are all just really inactive or don't believe any more. Half the area is paved and the other half is in the jungle and a little bit is on the river, Rio Negro. Its really diverse and tons of hills!!!! Holy Cow!!! So hard to walk around during the day because it's about 40 degrees C (104 F) and there are incredibley steep hills but I am thank full. I keep remembering that only through trials is our faith tested and made sure.

So, stories of the week: First, I have about over 100 bug bites and little red dots on my left arm and they itch!!!!!!!! It really kills some times. The mission presidents wife said she has never seen it before, but I have hydrocortizone and neosporine (thanks mom).We are trying that. It may be that I touched a plant (something like poison ivy) and I am having a reaction. I have to wear a TON of bug spray.(It IS the Amazon...) Also to get to some of the areas in my mission, we have to cross floating log bridges and it scares the crap out of me. We crossed at night one time and I was soooo mad at my companion. Not really, but I did NOT enjoy the experience. I am still trying to learn piano to help out the ward. It relieves the stress too when I can focus on the music. Good stuff! Oh, I saw a 4 inch long grasshopper. Crazy big bugs!!

We are teaching some really cool people. I am terrible with the names of the people here so sorry I don't remember them. They have names like "Astrogilda". There is one man who seems really receptive to our lessons and wants to know more. He is reading and finding Joseph Smith to be very cool. We taught an inactive girl by showing her "finding faith in christ". Excellent video! She teared up and is going to come back to church next week. We also have 2 baptisms this week! Leandro and Jefferson. Leandro is 24 and is way cool. He lives on the Brazil Navy Marine base. So we get to walk over through the base, which I love. Jefferson is 8 years old. He is incredibley smart. So cool! So the Brazilians say that I speak pretty well and that I have a "Spanish/Sao Paulo" accent.

Something CRAZY: There's this family in the ward that's pretty cool and the dad cut off his thumb!!! I don't really know what happened other than he did it while working in his yard. They didn't even try to get it sewn back on because the doctors here just don't do that. They just sewed it up and sent him with the tip of his thumb in a cup!!! What a great family heirloom! Haha!
I got your package!!!!! LOVE IT!!! Wasabi nuts are the bomb! I love the pictures of Christ and the Portland Temple. Thank you so much! Oh, I am sending Roman a letter this week. I've been thinking a lot about home but I came to the realization that this is home right now and that I just need to forget about the dirt and the sticky/mugginess and just focus on the work.

Here's a bunch of pictures of my area and sun stuff. It may be super hot here but it's beautiful!
I love you all!!!!

This is some BIG rain! Not like the rain in the NW...

Doing service for a member... Great color huh?

Mission Conf! These are the missionaries that are just in the greater Manaus area, NOT the other areas of the mission. There's three other major areas with about 30 more missionaries divided up. Can you find me? It's like a "where's waldo" picture, we are ALL waldo!  Haha!!

Me and Elder Z Reeves from Harmony Ward back home!!! (this was taken at the MTC in Sao Paulo)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Photos from the Mission

Asa is finally in Manaus as was able to upload a few pictures today.

His message from the MTC to all the graduating seniors at Union!!

Asa, Israel (MTC instructor) and Elder Rex (MTC comp) in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

MTC District

At the airport in Sao Paulo the day Asa arrived in Brazil

First meal at the MTC

First night he arrived in Brazil in his "dorm" room at the MTC

The back of Asa's name badge.

MTC roomie's tent.

Asa conducting the choir at the MTC - His FAVORITE thing to do!

MTC President and his Wife

The group that left the MTC for the mission field on June 14th.

Asa and his MTC instructors. Great guys!

Manaus, Brazil Temple - still under construction

Manaus, Brazil - from the window of he mission presidents condo.

Asa's mission president and his wife.

Asa's first companion in Manaus. Elder Soelberg from Farmington, Utah

Asa having a pizza party with Elder Rex at Cheney's Cookies in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Week #9


So I am in the mission field!!!!! And wow, way different. I won't lie, I was not prepared for this. It is pretty dirty here. Everything is sticky (humidity) and feels grimy and dirty. I will have to pray hard to get used to this. 

First things first, my new companion is Elder Soelberg and he is from Farmington Utah. He is shorter than me and is way blonde but yet, not tan even though he's been here a while. WEIRD. He has had a string of bad companions and it shows. I don't really know him that well but hopefully we start some good work here.

My first area is Mauazinho, Manaus, Brazil. A good, huge area that is one ward. I havent seen all of it yet but it seems like it is going to be great work. There are about 1000 people here who are members but only 160 active. WOO, lots of work! I dont know how many new people we will teach here but I am sure we will have a lot of reactivation. I met some good members already and they seem to love missionaries and the work. We have a meeting with the ward mission leader and Bishop tonight about the work. 

Also, they do not have anyone who can play piano and I happen to have a simplified hymnbook.... my companion says they will definitely ask me to play for sacrament (if I want). Yea, I need to learn a few hymns. CRAZY!!!! It is interesting that in my interview with my Stake Pres to be a missionary he asked me if I would be willing to learn piano and here, in my first area, I have to learn and play. CRAZY!!!

The meeting with the Mission President was good. He has a beautiful house in a high rise condo. The view was excellent. It looks like home here except tropical instead of pine trees. Rolling hills of green. I love it!

IT IS FREAKING HOTTTTT!!!!! Holy cow. I never thought that I would love cold showers until now. All we have is cold water. Its clean which is good. But I still sweat like a pig!!!! Wow, this is going to takes some getting used to.

SO, I forgot I came to a third world country, till I got here in Manaus. Its amazing how some people, and us, live. Some of the areas here are really poor, and others not so bad. I just feel so sad for the people.

P_DAY was great. We went to an indoor soccerfield and all the missionaries from 2 zones were there. I know nothing about soccer. My comp is really good though. I enjoyed playing and just watching when I rotated out. I am going to love this sport.

Well, I cant really think of a lot more to write, so there you all are.

I love you all!!!!!

Elder Asa Laws

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Follow-up letter from week #8

As I mentioned in my last letter, a lot has happened this past week. So we went to downtown Sao Paulo on Friday to go place some Books of Mormon. Wow!! What a spiritual experience. We met some excellent people who were prepared to receive it. Our first contact was a middle aged man. We walked up and exchanged pleasantries and then he said "I am an English Professor at the college across the street". Wow...Crazy right?! So we talked to the man in broken Portuguese and mostly english. He shared his views about how the world needs Christ. We testified that, that is why we are here! Then he asked us, "I have a specific question about your church. What is your beliefs on gay marriage?" HOLY COW!!! BIG question! Well I stepped up to answer him and explained the churches view. Then Elder Rex filled in with extra details. The man then graciously accepted a Book of Mormon and seemed quite interested.

The second man we talked to was a rocker guy. He actually called us over to him and guess what, he spoke English! So okay, it wasn't the best English but we could communicate using both languages. He said he already had a Book of Mormon and he enjoyed reading it. He also said that he thought the Nephites and Lamanites were excellent examples. He then proceeds to tell us about his beliefs on sin and that sinners aren't evil, but foolish and lost. We then talked to him about repentance. He said that it all just requires faith and BAM, I pulled out Alma 32 and the story of faith. We then committed him to read it and we bore our testimonies. It was great! The spirit was really there.

We then spoke with two black gentlemen who were on break from their first day of work for Citibank. They were COOL! No English this time, but we still got our message across. They seemed interested in something that could bring them more happiness. We gave them each a book and went went on our way. Keep in mind, these books have phone numbers in them for other local missionaries.

The next people we found were two older gentlemen. They were amazing! As soon as we came up to them, they opened up, joked with us and were inviting. And yes, they spoke excellent English!! One of them was Italian and the other Lebanese (like Klinger from MASH - haha). I can only remember one of their names. The Lebanese man was Michael. The other man called him "Michael the Archangel". They spoke with us about how when they were 7 they both moved to Sao Paulo and met at a school down the street from the park we were at. They had been friends since then and every Friday they meet at the park to catch up. Way cool! Then all of the sudden the Italian man asked me this question (very randomly), "what is the difference between knowledge and wisdom"? I was thrown back but an answer I had read before in the scriptures, came to mind (through the spirit I'm sure). I responded with "knowledge is things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come (D&C 93:24), and wisdom is how you apply that knowledge to yourself." He seemed impressed by that answer and they both agreed (way to go spirit!). I think at that point they knew we were different. We introduced the Book of Mormon to them and they liked the idea of more to read. Then the Italian asked another big question, this time to all of us in our group. He asked, "what is the most important thing in life?" BAM!! Another biggie!! Elders Wadsworth and Rex replied in testimony of Christ and following him and then about the Book of Mormon. They asked a few questions but they still waited for my answer. Again, a scripture came to mind. This time I shared it out of the Book of Mormon, in Portuguese. Alma 34:32 - For behold this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." I then bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon. Michael, the Lebanese, then shared a personal story about the labors we talked about. He said he once had a very nice, leather, handmade Bible in Portuguese at his house. He bought it years ago but didn't use it because he felt the impression that he had to give the Bible to someone else. WOW, amazing!! That was when we gave them both a Book of Mormon and said that is why we were there. To share a special book. The Italian saw the picture of Christ in the Americas and was fascinated. We told him about ancient prophets in America and marked his Book of Mormon where to read about that (3Nephi 11). Michael then gave us another story. He said he once saw a picture of Christ that was burned into his mind. He said that Christ was the smallest person the picture and everyone else was looking away from him. But he said he couldn't help but look at Christ, like the picture in the Book of Mormon. We bore testimony again and they asked for our names. I hope they go to church.

Just as we were getting done and we had 2 Books of Mormon left, our instructor found us and said we had to hand them out. Just as he said that a girl came up to us and said "Hey Missionaries!". She came up to us and said "hey guys, how are you?" We talked with her and it turns out she lived in Washington for a year as a foreign exchange student!! She lived with a mormon family and she used to go to church and seminary! HOLY COW! She couldn't be more prepared! We gave her a book and by then we only had 5 minutes left. So we found a young man who was extremely interested and started ready right in front of us! So amazing! This whole experience was amazing!

But that's not all. My friends at the MTC left this week. Yep, there was another district that was pretty cool and they left this week. It was Elder Zack Reeves week. So it was disappointing that I could not leave with them because I wanted to so bad!! But I will get to leave soon enough. I am so excited for Manaus!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Week #8


So uncle Dru asked about why I begin each letter with "boom". Because thats how I feel about each week! Plus its cool. Maybe... (I think so) So this week has been a HUGE week. Honestly, I dont think I can fit it all into one email. I was able to conduct the Choir again on Sunday and we sang "Come Thou Fount" and it was amazing. So powerful and strong. With just 1 hour I was able to each the Brazilians 2 verses in English and how to follow a conductor. And wow, it really set the spirit for the meeting; very powerful. The MTC president told me it was the best song they have ever had. What a compliment!!! His wife gave me a hug and was close to speechless. She wanted me to conduct more but techniquely I am only allowed to conduct twice while here. BUT....... this next Sunday I am conducting again! This time the prelude choir!!!! Its going to be great. I need to pick 10 minutes worth of music and figure that all out still. Anyways, I bought a simplified hymnbook in portuguese so I can learn how to play for the church in Manaus... if i have time. So I didnt know that the scriptures you are sending me are in portuguese, so I bought some. But I will porbably need them still anyways. So its all good. Thank you again for sending those. 

BRANDYN BURBANK!!!!! CONGRATS!!!! That is the coolest mission call!!! You are going to have a blast and be tri-lingual. Good luck man! 

So I finally used that pizza party you sent me and....... The pizza was great!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!! My instructor took pictures and should post them on facebook soon. Amazing! Best meal yet! 

So, this week we also got to go to downtown Sao Paulo and teach people. It was an amazing experience but the problem is, I dont have time to write about it in this email. So I did in my last missionties letter (from the MTC), and I am going to have to ask you a favor mom... can you copy off my letter and post it to the blog for me along with this email? The whole experience is 3 pages long! Way too long for my email. Please? sweet! Next week I leave to the mission field and I am so excited!!!!!! I finally get to get out and teach. I wont know a thing in Portuguese but hey, at least I will be out of this place! Anyways, I love you all!!!!

PS - Also, I have met 2 elders here that know my cousins!!!!!. Elder David Morgan, from Medford Oregon!!!!!!! He knows Laws and Ky!!!!!! And Bruno Dossena!!!!!! He knows Erika! He asked me if i knew a "Riki" Laws. I said I was him. He said oh.... she was a girl...... HAHAHAA