Mission Slideshow

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pictures from the Amazon - July 2011

Below is several pictures that Asa recently emailed home.

The Amazon Rainforest!

The Amazon River and my comp Elder Soelberg

Me and a machete! Scary huh?

My impersonation of the Army of Helamen!

My homemade scripture covers - BOOM!

Our usual breakfast - homemade eggs and oatmeal! I love it!!

Elder Soelberg - not sure what he's doing with the jello...

Our CLEAN apartment - thanks for the advice mom! 

BIG Bananas!

Our zone has a soccer team and these are our awesome jerseys!!

Our new hammocks! Much better than the beds here.

I fell on concrete stairs and cracked my face!

2 STITCHES!! So I can't shave until they come out! Yeah!!!
Baptism of a man that we've been working with.

My comps birthday cake...

...and me helping him eat it!!
Hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week #15 - What a crazy ride!

So, I had a very interesting week this week. Lots of crazyness. Let's dive right in!

Thursday was my first division, or splits, with the zone leaders of our area in Manaus. I was to stay in Mauazinho and Elder Hubbard, the Zone Leader, came to my area and would see how I was doing as a new missionary. I was a little nervous at first but he is a very cool guy and we talked a lot about Halo, cars, and generally really awesome stuff! He has only 1 month left on his mission but he is focused and he can speak very well.

We went to lunch at 12 to Irmão Machado's house and we had some great food and..... ice cream!!!! I dont know if I have mentioned this member yet, but Irmão Machado makes ice cream for a living, so we get ice cream or popcicles from him about once every week. It was awesome!!! Hubbard talked forever with them until about 1:50.

We then left to begin our teaching day! We had a lot of appointments and it was going to be exciting. Elder Hubbard had never been to Mauazinho before and he had heard about how cool and hard it is, so he was excited. We had to go to a community, or biarro, called Jardim Mauá. To get there, we have to cross across a 10 foot rickity, sketchy bridge, which goes to a dirt sand ledge and that goes to a old, broken cement stairway down into the road to get to Jardim Mauá. On the right side of all of this is a 10 foot drop into a huge pile of garbage and the left is 25 foot cliff to the bottom. WAY COOL! I cross this place about every other day. Well, thursday I was walking across and just as I was almost to the concrete stairs I slipped and fell. I caught myself on the stairs with my hands, stopping my fall. But I also smashed my chin into the concrete as well and it really hurt. I thought " dude, you get up you idiot. You fell infront of your zone leader!" So I quickly pulled myself up off the side which lead to the garbage pile and cleaned myself off.

Quickly, yet very slowly, Hubbard followed and came to see if I was okay. I felt fine but a little stupid and in pain. For some reason I touched my chin and found my hand was covered in blood. Great... I had scraped up my chin and now I was in the middle of no where with no members or people around that we knew and no phone because last week our phone had been stolen from Elder Soelberg, on the bus. Great... We had no idea what to do so we walked farther down the stairs and came up to a little marcadinho, a little market in somones house, and the guy there was so nice. He gave me cotton, a rag, alcohol and a band aid to clean myself up, all while Elder Hubbard was talking to him about the Church!!! Way cool!!! We figured, "okay, we will just go on and keep teaching."

We went to our first appt. with a girl, Esilege. She was going to be baptized this week, but her mother said no and the she was a bad daughter and did not deserve it. So we were going by to comfort her. She saw my face and FREAKED!!! She got a mirror, a fresh bandaid, and more alcohol for me. This is when I finally got to see what had happened. I had cut open my chin, deep. Really deep! And I could do nothing about it. So, what did we do. We kept on going and we helped out Esilege and then went to the house of Patricia.

She thought I was crazy and she really liked Elder Hubbard. We talked with her about going to church and about eternal marriage. She seemed even more interested and curious but she told me I had to go to the "Ponto de Saudé" in Mauazinho. Brasil has public health programs and the Ponto is a free aid station for civilians. We went and got there at 5pm, just as it was closing! They said I need 2 stitches and that I would have to go to the hospital. GREAT... We have to go to the hospital and we have no phone to tell the other missionaries or the Mission President.

We decided to catch a bus over to the hospital and the lady said it was to be a 40 minute ride. We asked her twice to tell us when to get off. But.... when it came time to get off, she forgot to tell us!!! So we had to wait for the same bus to loop back around.... I was on the bus with an open wound covered in just taped on gause for 1 1/2 hours!!!

We got there at 6:50 and this hospital was..... sketchy to say the least. I am sure Brasilian hospitals are great but this one was more like a small aid center. I was taken back into another room and had to wait until the table was free and the doctor was free. The Lady in front of me had cracked her head and was bleeding on the table. When they fixed her up, they moved the bloody plastic off the table and put a new on and then told me to lie down! I was freaking out to say the least. But I stayed collected on the outside and mainly just yelled in my mind. They cleaned my wound, gave me 2 stitches, and the whole time the doctor spoke broken english, which did not help me feel any better. Then I got 3 x-rays and was sent on my way with a perscription for pain meds.

All in all, a crazy experience. Now, I cannot shave and have a awesome beard and because of inflammation, I cannot go out in the sun for too long and I have to avoid direct light. Sooooo we can only work half the day and I get to wear a WHITE FEDORA!!!! I feel the beard and fedora are blessing, because I hate shaving and love hats.

Anyways, I am actually fine. But I will have a wicked scar on my chin, like you DAD!!!!! HAHAHA. Maybe it will work for me to get a beard card at BYU? Besides that, my week was kinda lame. The work is slowing a lot and people are just not willing to keep commitments. We caught a boy trafficking illegal drugs and one of our investigators is drinking again.

Also, this last Tuesday, we were just standing at a bus stop when all of the sudden a short little women came and stood right in front of us!! She did not say a word but just stood there. Then, randomly she stuffed 20 reais into my companions pocket and ran away! It was sooo weird but a huge blessing because our lunch fell through that day and we had 20 reais to buy lunch!

Nevertheless!! I am good. I have a hat! And we found out the for the next transfer, 6 weeks, me and Elder Soelberg will be staying together!!!!!!!!!!! Smiles.

Please, no one freak out. I am fine. Mom, I am mainly talking to you and Rachel.

Love you all!
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week #14 - Rege!! That means hammock in Portuguese


What a great, warm, fast week!!!! Again, I forgot to bring notes from this week, but I will try to remember some really good highlights.

First, I want to make it clear to everyone, I LOVE MY MISSION!!!!!! I love it. I wouldn't trade one day of it away for any riches of this world. Not one day goes by where I don't see the importance of this gospel. Not one day goes by where I don't see how important this work is to these people, and to me!!! Yes, Brazil is different, and not my favorite place in the whole world. But what really matters is that I LOVE MY MISSION. I love these people. I love this work. I love my God.

This week I felt like we made some great progress with our investigator Patricia. Every time before, when we went over there I never really felt like she understood the importance of our message, or the fact that we were there to help and teach her. She is so much fun and really loves to talk with us and joke around, especially because she knows I do not always understand. Well we met with her and she somehow began to talk about the importance of order in her life, and organization. It was impressive to me that she was talking about this, because that morning I had studied in ETHER 12 about the the Order of God!! I just felt impressed to share my thoughts about that. So... I did. For about 15 minutes!!!! Me, talking in portuguese, for 15 minutes!!!!!! About things I had never explained before!!!! I felt the Lord helping soooooo much!!!! I think she felt the spirit too and finally realized, that we are messengers from God. We dedicate 2 years simpley to studying, and helping, and teaching and Gods Love for Us. She totally agreed with what I bore testimony about, and then I told her about how important the Book of Mormon was to her family. I told her everything that I felt in my heart from the Spirit. It was amazing. Well.... since then she has been reading!!!! And she loves the Book! She also asks really great questions, because she really knows the Bible! She first talked about divorce and then this last visit she asked about the 140000 people that go to live with God. I studied that part of the scriptures and have an answer for her. Its just exciting to see progression. She said that the Book of Mormon and what I had said to her gave her hope. How true is that message? We are here to give each other hope and faith in Christ.

I have really just grown to love the scriptures!!! Oh how I love to just study and read, and reference, and study, and ponder, and solve, and grow from the scriptures!!!! I think my favorite thing to do outside of soccer is study the scriptures!!! Corithians, Alma, Ether, Matthew, Genesis!!! There is soo much to learn. So much that we can read and realize to help us. If I have one piece of advice for the whole world, it is to study the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and the words of the Prophets!

This week I got a survival package from Elder Tenney... An American flag, Pepto-bismol, and playing cards!!!!!! OH yea!!! I also bought my hammock, timbers colors of course, and I love it.

Also, I have a question for you all, and I would love to hear your answers. Unto whom is given the law? (feel free to write my mom with your answers or send them to me in the mail - my address is in left column of this blog)

Ate mais, I love you all!
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, July 11, 2011

Manaus update - Week #13


P-day has been moved to Monday so this letter is short because it I really only have a short weeks worth of stuff.

This last Saturday was my companions birthday!!!! He turned 21 and the ward here made him a cake and lasagna!!!! It was delicious and I had a blast. We played Uno with some of the members and I sucked at it, but I spoke Portuguese during the game..... mostly, except when I was mad. But it was a ton of fun!!

This week we also found some very cool new people to teach. The first is a girl, Esilege. She is 14 and has had a tough life and her mom leaves her to raise her family. When we first met her I thought she just wanted to talk with white boys. But she watched The Restoration video with us and read the Book of Mormon and she wants to be baptized!! How cool is that!? We also found a man who has a drinking problem and wants to stop because he is hurting his family. We are helping him to stop as well. Also, I think I am going to buy a hammock to sleep in. (great for air circulation)

We went to "Hebibs" (local restaurant) for P-day for another Elders birthday and I bought a cheeseburger! It was sooooooooo good!!!!!! I loved the fries, and I had orange juice too. We almost always have beans, rice, and chicken for lunch so the change was much appreciated.

I am sooo glad to be here. I love this work and this gospel. I would not want to be any other place than here. Thank you for your love and prayers!

I love you guys!
Elder Asa Laws

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Your weekly news from the Amazon! - Week #12

So, this week was pretty much the Bomb, as every week is. Yep. Bomb!

I can't really write a big long letter about the events of the week because I mailed mom my letters already and I dont have those reminders to remember everything but I still remember a little bit.

This past Sunday was fantastic. We started it off with ALL of our investigators cancelling coming to church with us, which was a big bummer. We thought it was going to be another lonely day in church but, in the second hour, 5 investigators showed up!!!!!! It was amazing. João (John) is dating one of the girls in our ward and he has come to church and been at activities for a while, but we never had a chance to speak with him. He came up to us after church and said we need to come over to talk about BAPTISM with him!!!!!! So cool. The boy friend of Claudia, (my haircut lady in the ward) also came and we talked to him about Joseph Smith and he seemed really interested!!! The other 3 investigators are a family of a mom and her 2 adult daughters. Valeria, Adrianna, and Maria. They came and seemed to enjoy classes a lot but we could tell they didn´t like sacrament meeting, because there are kids in the meeting (noisy). But we went to talk with them afterwards and Valeria said she felt something so different at our church and she didn´t want to leave. We explained that that was the spirit telling her that she was doing the right thing. Its amazing, we saw her on the street yesterday and see just seemed so much happier and we have another lesson with her tomorrow. I am excited!

Last P-day we decided to go tanning for a few minutes out on our roof and both of us were burned pretty bad. I recovered pretty fast but Elder Soelberg has been peeling sooooo bad! It is very funny. He was so pink. But I am fine now and I am beautifully, evenly tanned. Oh yea! (I almost look like a native)

We met our new mission President on Monday, the 4th! He is so cool. President Moroni Kline! He is from Porto Alegre, the south of Brazil, and he has a wonderful family. He is just so excited and he has a TON of energy. I instantly liked him from the moment I saw him. He just is gitty! It is refreshing to see a Brazilian like that!. Way cool. He is a history major and he knows a ton. Everything relates back to the gospel. Someone asked him if we can drink Coke in our mission now, because it was rule before we couldn't, and he related it back to how everything in the church works in a order, and how God is a God of Order, so he would council with the Zone leaders and decide about about drinking Coke! After, he let us sing the Star Spangled Banner as the Closing hymn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got to conduct and Elder Tenney held up his gaint American Flag. It was AMAZING!!!!!!! I LOVED IT! Everyone here knows I was in the ROTC and they all know I am really patriotic.

Speaking of Tenney, he said he is going to give me the flag when he leaves to pass it on to another loyal american. We talk alot on p-day and meetings. He is a way cool guy. Today he said "dang, why does this have to be my last transfer! We would have been great companions!" He is cool guy and he is good example of a hard working missionary.

P-day today we went and played more soccer as a Zone. I always get crap from some of the Americans who are MLS fans because I am a Timbers fan, and most of them are for Real Salt Lake. YUCK! But I played pretty good today and scored a goal for my team!!!!!! We won once and lost twice though. Lame. But I am getting better. Sorry Dad, but I am really loving soccer. Plus, I hear through the vine that basketball and football are both in lockout. More time for soccer games! Also, we just got word that the Prophet has decided that ALL missionaries around the world are switching their P-Days to Monday.

Also, for everyone reading this, I need you to know WHY I am here. WHY I am having these wonderful adventures. It is because I believe that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is Christs church on the earth today. I know that we have, through Joseph Smith, the restored authority and power of God, the Holy Priesthood, on this earth to guide and direct this church. I know we have a living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and 12 Apostles, to help our families follow the example of Christ so that we can return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. And I know that The Book of Mormon is a true text, an ancient record of Prophets of old, here in the Americas, that is another testament of Christ. I know that if you read that book and pray, with the intent to do what the Lord directs you, you will know that all of what I know is true. It is undeniable in my heart. I love this work. I love my family. I love my country. I love my God.

Also, I love you all.
Elder Asa Laws