The following has been translated from Portuguese into English for the sake of the audience. It is an account of one day on the mission of Elder Asa Laws. The author (Elder Laws) has chosen to take small creative license to help convey the full emotion of the story. However, all events and people are true and real. He also hopes that this will be read out loud with a British accent to better illustrate the scenes taking place (just kidding). Please, enjoy!
Early one bright Tuesday morning in the month of October, the year 2011, a young and refreshed Elder Laws rose from his bed. He had slept quite well that night because of the wonderful air conditioner that sat just above him at the foot of his bed. He rose quickly and then fell back down to the mercy of the sheets and soft pillow. "Why?" he thought, " should I get up so early if I cannot even use the shower?" His companion for the last 24 hours, had risen from his slumber faster than he, and thus had grabbed the first chance to use the shower. "Back to bed," was the following line of thought he had.
But he could not sleep again. Too much was about to occur that day. No, sleep was no longer an option. Elder Laws then arose much slower this time, and decided to try to accomplish something. So a morning prayer would be the start of the day and then "Shirt," was the first word to come to mind, as that early in the morning one word thoughts are much easier to handle. He would iron the shirt first. Grabbing it from the end of the bed were he had placed it the previous night, he stood, invested the location of his flip-flops, put them on, and then walked from his fantastically cold, comfortable, aitr-conditioned room into the boiling sunny morning. "Sunny," was the next word to pass by his thoughts.
The young Elder prepared his shirt with a quick effort and placed it with his black dress pants, which because of the sun were no longer real black. Really, they were more of a fake black that says " I was not expecting this amount of light exposure during my life as pants." The tie for the day was also relocated from the refrigerated bedroom to the kitchen/ study room. The days wardrobe had all been accounted for. By this time the Elder was able to use the shower.
The shower was quick and quite cold; just enough time to clean all the hard spots and wake up past the "one word" stage of the morning. A quick shave, hair check, and brush of the teeth. Done. Elder Laws completed his morning bathroom routine, and quickly reminded himself in the mirror " Today is the day. You can do this."
What made this day so different for the 6 month fresh missionary was 2 very large facts that he had learned the day before. Fact 1: He was to have a new Brazilian companion. Fact 2: He was now to lead a group, or district of Elders, ALL of which are Brazilian. He had another one word thought. "How?" This was followed quickly by the word "Why?". How was he to deal with these other Elders? What type of leader would he be? Could he even speak well enough to help them? Will his new companion like him? Will he want to work or just sit around? An ocean of doubt began to fill his mind and he thought that maybe trying to sleep again would be a better option. "Retire the day at dawn, and give it up to the enemy".
Elder Laws saw his temporary companion begin to suit up and thought, " I got this. I can speak, walk, and run if required. I got this." With regular pace the missionary uniform was again put on by the Elder. Pants first, shirt, socks, tie, name tag, pen, shoes. The backpack was then prepared and placed in its proper place-- his back. " No, the enemy will not have the day." Another prayer was said and leaving the chilled tauntings behind in the house, the day began.
The number 213 bus was caught and used by the two Elders, however comfort was not to be had. This particular bus on this particular day had also been chosen by a squadron of other car-less people and for the majority of the ride, Elder Laws rode with someone else's butt in his face. Sadly, he had chosen to sit down before knowing that many, many others would chose to stand right next to and in front of him. Thoughts of his family always seemed to pass through his mind on the bus. This day was no exception. They helped him remember why he was enduring these cramped situations in a foreign country. Thoughts of downtown Portland on his birthday and Friday night "Halo" with his brother were comforting. Annoying his sister by sitting on her was even better and definetly the thoughts of the other sister singing to herself all over the house. These thoughts were perfect to distract from the 50 others on the bus.
The time passed quickly and soon the Elders had arrived at their stop. Elder Laws and his companion pushed their way out and quickly crossed the street. They had arrived at the mission staff building, which existed on the opposite side of the city from their home.
" Come on," was excliamed by Elder Laws' temporary companion. " Lets beat the crowd."
" Sounds good to me. I want to find out who my new companion is now." At this point, Elder Laws had yet to find out the name of his companion. He was quite bothered by this. How could he find someone without their name?
"Laws. His name is Carmo," said a random Elder standing near by.
"What?" He looked around wondering where the origin of the sentence was coming from.
"Hey, over here. Candido. His name is Carmo," stated Elder Candido.
"Oh. Thanks," said Elder Laws quickly, as he was slightly taken aback that Elder Candido knew what he was thinking. " Wait, where is he?"
" Don't know. Look around," Elder Candido said as he ran off with papers in hand to save another Elder.
At this point, Elder Laws was still okay. He took some breaths, greeted some friends and began his awkward chest staring search in order to find a name tag with "Carmo."
It was not long until the name was found. "Carmo Santos" it read. He looked up. There before him was the Elder. Elder Carmo Santos from Bahia, Brazil. He was short, strong and dark. Real dark. He shirt was ironed and prepared with care and his luggage was packed tightly into just one bag and backpack. But he had a giant smile on his face that had a different, happy to be here look. HE was there to work. "This is going to be a good 6 weeks," was the thought of Elder Laws at that moment. " This is going to be a good 6 weeks."
As you can tell, the format of this weeks letter is slightly different. Thought I'd try to be a little creative. I had a great week!!!
My new companion is Elder Carmo Santos. He is amazingly awesome. He only has 3 months on the mission which he spent in Acre, another state of Brazil. He is very excited, he loves to work, and he likes to follow the rules. Everything I need to improve on. We are going to work very well together.
One thing that I absolutely love about him is his teaching. He is a fantastic teacher. The people respond to him so well and they are always willing to accept his commitments and help. He loves sharing this message and is blessed with the spirit to do so. I am learning a lot from him. He also has a huge desire to be able to speak English!!! He can read a little bit and speak some simple phrases. We are practicing a lot. His plan is to attend BYU after the mission so English is a huge goal.
I am learning to love the scriptures even more because I only have them in Portuguese now. I sent my English ones home with Elder Soelberg to send to my parents. Man, I am learning a lot. This week has been a lot like my first week in the CTM. A lot of change, and growth. I am so blessed. As for being a district leader, its the same and totally different. I am responsible now and I have to help out another group of Elders improve too. It will be fun and challenging.
So this week we did a service project we we had to shovel into buckets and move a mountain of rock and old brick!!! It was hard work and it was in the rain! It rained a ton this week which is great because it is colder here now a little bit. Not really...
Also, one night the power and water went out and we had to take showers with the bucket and read and write by candlelight!!! I HAVE PHOTOS!!
Eu amo voçês
Elder Asa Laws