Mission Slideshow

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week #20 - "Frank Burns Eats Worms"


So in honor of this week and me and my companion talking about M*A*S*H, my letter is titled as such. This week was quite fun I think because of the wonderful work that we have, being able to share such a message about Christ.

We have an investigator whose entire family are members and he has heard all that really can be told to him, but he has just never felt that the Gospel was something to change his life. He has 3 daughters who are all very active but his wife is inactive. Well we started talking with him on Monday last week and had 2 discussion with him, and wow it is amazing to see the change that has already occured. At the first visit we focused on "What is and why do we have, The Book of Mormon?" He seemed quite pensive and I just was praying that he would read it for himself. Then on our second visit this last week he was different. HE was reading. HE was acting and thinking on his own about the Gospel and HE was praying. He even went to his "almost" ex-wifes house to talk about a divorce so he could get baptized! We did not even have to tell him to do that!!! It is just incredible to see the effect that the fullness of the truth can have on someone to better there life. He is asking great questions like " my daughters are baptized but they still fight and have problems, why?" It is fantastic to hear this!!!! It shows he really has the desire. The Book of Mormon teaches us (in Alma 22) that the Lord simply requires the desires of our hearts to guide us. Then....HE CAME TO CHURCH!!!!! He came, he participated, and really understood why we are called " The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."  Oh it was great to see him there!

We also have a new investigator family that we passed by on Saturday. My companion was a little sick and I was in charge of talking to them. As soon as we came in and sat down, Marlo, the father said " Okay, who is Nephi?" I was shocked! Stunned! Excited! (Alma 22:8) So I explained who Nephi was; A Prophet of God called to guide His people to the Promised Land. He then asked, "So what about Mormon, or Moroni, who were they?" I really can not write how excited I was to answer these questions!!! He asked about Ether and Jared as well. Then we looked at the pictures that come in the front pages of the Book of Mormon. We started with the picture of Christ in the Americas appearing to the people after his acension from Jerusalem. He was so interested that Christ would come to all his people. We asked about who Samuel the Lamanite Prophet was and why he was standing on a wall. He asked about Moroni and the Plates made by Mormon. He even asked about Joseph Smith and what his calling was. What an incredible experience to see others WANTING, DESIRING to learn. After he said, " Nephi sounds like a very interesting story. I want to read about his boat. This week I will read the first Book of Nephi and next saturday we will have something to talk about."

It was a great week to teach for me. My portuguese is better. I understand basically 95% of everything.  My face is healed and has been great. We have played soccer 2 mondays in a row and I am getting way better. I scored again today which rocked. We had a ton of local brazilians play with us and I was playing forward with a big tall guy. He played the ball down to the keeper box, where he pulled the goalie and 2 others out at him, passed to me and I smashed it in!!!!! But we lost anyways. HAHA. I love soccer. Its so much fun. Today we played in 93 degrees, rainforest weather. SWEET.

ALSO... Congrats AARON DAVIS!!!!! Australia is gonna be awesome!!! Happy birthday to Brandyn Burbank!!

Oi. Eu Convido vocês a aprender como falar em português.

Eu Amo Vocês,
Elder Asa Laws

PS - A warning to all those that I love...

This week I was able to veiw some very sad situations that are all based around one great evil: Drinking.

This week we found that one of our investigators had returned to drinking in the past few weeks and was wasting away his life. He was mad, fighting with his wife, and wanting to wreck his whole life because he does not think straight anymore. He says is not an alcoholic. He only drinks with his friends but yet his family is falling apart. We tried to discuss how a husband and wife are best friends and need to work these problems out with prayer, communication and love. His wife was willing and said he was her best friend. He said it depended on the day and what she was saying whether or not they were friends. I was horrified. He drinks just to have fun and hang out with his other friends was ruining all that he had. We also have a former investigator that came to us for help with his drinking. He was an alcoholic. He ran away from his problems with drinking. His wife wants to leave him and she is beaten sometimes.

Please, anyone I know. ANYONE.  If you drink for any reason. Only for dinners, parties, you only drink with your college buddies, any reason, STOP. I beg you to stop flirting with such a terrible evil that I have seen destroy so much here in Brazil. I see men drunk every day with nothing else left in their lives. I hear fights in houses with drunk husbands and wives. I see children who drink to hide from their problems at home. It is so very sad to see. And yes, this message applies to all of you who drink, even just a little bit or only once in a while. By small steps are we pulled down.

I love you all and want nothing bad to happen to any of you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Week #19 - "Who Is Driving This Flying Umbrella"

Sorry but this week really does not have that much juice to share. We will see how I do at sharing what did happen though. First however, may I say that " Deliver Us" from the movie "The Prince of Egypt" is fantastic and stuck in my head.
Anyways this week was an extremely hot week! Over 100 degrees every day. We walk everywhere and I sweat a TON! I sweat so much this week that I even had sweat coming out of my ears!!! It was ridiculous. I think it is because I drink so much; because I drink a TON! Really, I am a thirsty fella! I am always thirsty. I always have been. But here it has been killer!
We taught a million people this week and really tried to find as many people as we could, to help them. However, everyone here is already a member but has left the church for various different reasons. Our goal is to help them come back. The ward members here have really stepped up the game and like serving with us and trying to help us. We always have a ton of food to eat when the give us lunch every day and they genuinely want to serve and help the Lord.
This week some of the members here threw a huge party and cooked a MASSIVE pot of beans and meat. " Feijoada" is what it is called and it was amazingly good!! We spent some time at the party and just chilled with the members, trying to hide from the sun. haha!

Anyways, this week I wanted to point out something every interesting I have been learning with my language studies. The word " esperar" in Portuguese is a verb with many similar meanings in English. But there are 2 very interesting one I would like to point out. "Esperar" can mean to "hope" as well as to "expect". I found this to be very interesting that to hope for something in Portuguese is the same as to expect something. So in essence, hope in ones faith is not just a simple feeling of happiness and delight in ones faith, but it is to actually expect something to happen, to occur, or change. Really all this implies that ones hope is an expectation and to seek for that hope and expectation; it requires action. Faith and hope are not simple principles but rather actions based on a expectation in what you have hoped for and put faith in.
I love you all.
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, August 15, 2011

This is where I fell on week #17 and had my accident...

This is the bridge we had to cross...
This is the dump 20 ft down below the bridge... 
 This is the dirt path that you have to jump down to from the bridge...
 This is the dump 20 ft below the dirt path...
 This is where I tripped and fell off, smacking my face on the concrete, cutting my chin open and ringing my bell! I caught myself though and didn't fall into the dump 20 ft below (my Angels were working overtime!)
 This is me on the same dangerous route AGAIN! See how far you have to jump off the bridge just to get to the dirt path?
 Stitches from busting my face on that concrete pad!!
 All bandgaged up...
 I couldn't shave because of the stitches and I had to keep the sun off my face because of the medicine... (He looks like a reporter from the 50's - look at the size of the knot in his tie!!! I think we should call him Elder Guido!)
 I tried to clean up but I still couldn't shave my chin...

Awesome Helicopter Pix!

 This is Asa's DREAM!!!

Week #18 - "You're a sad, strange little man, Farewell..."

Well, it was quite a good past week that we had, directly underneath the sun. But seriously, it has been at least 100 degrees for the past week, every day. And we still have more time before it gets to be the hottest. Its pretty rediculous. I sweat sooo much that my shirt has a brown line on the back where my backpack hits my shirt. Because of this I have been using my soccer bag that I brought instead or my companions bag because it isn't stuck to my back. Regardless though, life is still great. I may hate the heat, but I am growing to love it here.

This week we were able to meet some new, very wonderful families who are really interested in our message. The first is the family of Marçello and Nyra. Nyra was baptized when she was 11 but she hasn't been to church in a really long time. Marçello does not know much and he has never really been active in a church, but they both seem to like our message about families and how the love of a man and women can extend into the eternities. It really is amazing though that, through this gospel and covenants made with God in the temple, we can be sealed to our spouse for all time! I recently listened to a talk by Elder Scott, of the twelve apostles, and he spoke so beautifully of how marriage and a family is such a divine union. Lets just say I am more excited for the future now, after my mission.

Along with Marçello and Nyra, we are also teaching a boy named Jefferson. He is 10 years old but you can tell he is more mature than that. When we talk him about the restoration of the church he was very in tune and we could tell that something had struck him. Our next visit we talked about baptism and he decided to be baptized on the 27th!!!! Very exciting. There was just something different there for him, and you could tell the spirit of the Lord spoke to him.

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the Book of Mormon. What is it really? Why do I walk around with copies of this book, testifying to people of it's truthfulness on a day to day basis? Well this is what I could come up with.

We are all wonderful children of a most loving and gracious God, our Heavenly Father. He loves us so perfectly as to give us this life to choose for ourselves and to have to joy, as well as sorrow. He knows we are not perfect. He knows we cannot be perfect, even though he requires this of us( New Testament, Matthew 5:48). So, He in His infinite love and wisdom, gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, whose name literally means Saviour and Messiah. Only through Him can we achieve this perfection and through His atoning sacrifice and example, we may repent and retry to follow in His footsteps (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:17). The Bible; Old and New Testaments ( or another translation of the ancient text, Old and New Covenants), contain much of the words of the prophets and messengers sent before and after Christ to testify of him. We even have 4 accounts of the personal ministry of Christ. However, over the centuries, many plain and precious things have been lost from the Bible as men, who with good and bad intentions, tried to translate and preserve the words of the Prophets ( Old Testament, Amos 8: 11-12).

However, men are imperfect and today the words we have are not as they used to be. God in his wisdom peserved a record with the fullness of the gospel of Christ and words of the Prophets from the hands of men. Through Joseph Smith, a prophet of modern times, this record was translated into English by the guidance of Holy Spirit, and later into 100's of langauges for the world. Yes, this book is a book of scriptures, with the words of God's called prophets in ancient times. No, it is not a Bible, a replacement Bible, or even a handbook for the Bible. It is a seperate record, given to us by God to explore and study with the same furiousity as the Bible; and with these books together, we are able to have once again the fullness of Christs path, and God's plan laid before us( Book of Mormon, Introduction). This testifies of Jesus Christ. This book speaks of Christ. This book has the direct words of Christ given to the ancient chosen people of God( Book of Mormon, 3rd Nephi 10-27). Through prayer and a heartful desire to know the truth, anyone who reads the book can know that it is a true record (Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:3-5). And when they feel the Spirit of God testify that it is true, they will also know that Christ is our Savior. This is our message. This is my message. This is every missionaries message. It is a message of Christ. And I know its true

I love you all!!
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week #17 - "Money, Money, Money by the Pound"


So from now on I will be titling my letters after Disney quotes I remember... if I remember to do that! So our week was pretty slow this time.

Tuesday: My Comp had a meeting at headquarters so I went on a division with Elder Vaughn in his area in the center of Manaus. He has 7 months on the mission but only 4 months here in Brazil because of Visa issues. So his portugues, though better than mine of course, is not perfect. Yet we went out and taught 2 lessons!!! One was with a man who a week ago didn't believe in God but he wants to be baptized now. However, you could tell it was hard for him to accept that he was going to have to change his thought process about God, now that he believes in Him. The second lesson was with a young man who has lived in Brazil for 2 months and only knows a little bit of portuguese!! He he mostly understands spanish!! Well with the help of his brother who is biligual, we talked with him. It was amazing for me because I was flying! I was speaking like a pro!!! AND.... he was undertanding me!!! Definitely I know that the Lord helped us in that discussion. The spirit was very strong.

Yea, the rest of the week was not really note worthy, other then.... I GOT YOUR PACKAGE! Yes it is fantastic! Food, my toe shoes! MUSIC!! Fantastic!

Oh! On saturday our ward had an activity that was basically a community job fair!! People from the ward set up booths about their Jobs! We had a booth inside with air conditioning and we got to talk with some new people. It was really cool to just see the community notice that we are not a closed church.

Yea not that much going down here in the rainforest. It has not even rained for weeks! Crazy!

I am doing pretty good and I a really getting ahold of the language now a days. I actually have conversations with people and know whats going on. SAWEET!!

I love you all!!
Elder Asa Laws

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


So, this week was pretty awesome I figure. Well, kind of...
We really are having a slow period as far as the work goes here. It just seems like no one wants to commit to anything or try to do the things we ask them to do. Its hard some days when all you appointments fall through, and the people you want to help are not helping themselves.

But, regardless, I am alive and happy!!!! Why, is the question some may ask. Well, here is why...

I SAT IN AN HELICOPTER!!!! BOOM!!!! Yea, that's right, an helicopter. One of our investigators is the second in command of squadron HU-3 of the Brazilian Marines. WAY LEGIT!!!! So while at a meeting at the church he asked us if we wanted to see what he does for a living (since I was in the air force). We of course accepted and this last Friday he took us to the base. We went in normal civilian clothes because he said it would be better and the only pants I have here are my camos that I brought for service projects. So I went in them with my air force hat. I was fly! Yea, so he gave us a quick tour of the facility then took us out to the pad to see the Helos. MAN, it was SOOOOO COOOOLLL!!!! We had a mechanic explain to us how they work as we sat in the cockpit. We even got to put on the helmets!!!!!! Don't worry I have pictures. I was freaking out! Afterward my companion said " hey, if you ever need some volunteer passengers, we are always ready." He responded with,"Well, maybe I could arrange that!" It was sooooo legit.

Well, then on Saturday there was a church wide activity for Manaus called "Mãos Que Ajudam", or in english, Helping Hands. A ton of people came to donate blood for the local hospitals. We went as well and when we got there they said we could not donate because we were not citizens. UPSET! Then they came to there senses about 20 minutes later and let us donate. Well, so we thought. Later, the lady who was working there would not let me donate because I haven't been in Brazil for long enough (I need 3 months in Manaus), so I never got to donate. But my companion did! It was crazy freaky cuz I watched the whole thing.

So anyways, Yea. Life is such a crazy ride. On a mission you just have to always remember a few things.

One: When you are in the service of your fellow beings you are in the service of your God. Take joy in the work we have been given and service with your heart.

Two: You are imperfect, and you are always in need of our Saviour. He was, and is, perfect. And through his atoning sacrifice, we can be made perfect. Through our faith in Christ, beleiving Christ, and our honest best effort to try every day ( including repentance), we can be made clean.

Three: Just Work. Do something. I am often reminded of the teaching of Bro.David Fanning. Young men are bumps on a log and without constant application of energy and work, we will eventually fall apart. This is so true!!

Four: Helicopters are awesome!!!

I love you all.
Elder Asa Laws