Mission Slideshow

Monday, October 31, 2011

Week #29 - "Dear Dad, Remember when I was a kid...

...you always told me if my head wasn't attached to my shoulders I'd lose it? Well ... "

If you have ever heard that a mission is a lot of work, you've heard right!! These last two weeks have been quite the ride and we are really seeing the fruits of our labors now. Let me explain. In my district there is an area called Lagoa Verde. For about a year it has become a death trap for missionaries. No one wants to listen or talk in this area. No one will read the Book of Mormon and the missionaries just get grabbed down into the depths. Well with this new transfer we have really been focusing on being more obedient, listening to the spirit and planning. Well, that area has grown HUGE in the past two weeks !!! They have many new people to teach and they are going to work way more this next week. I am so excited for them. On top of that our area has also exploded because of the new things we are doing. My companion is an excellent teacher and I am the planner. We are always working. ALWAYS!!!! I am soooo tired. However nine people here have committed to be baptized and we have many more that are progressing.

The only time we aren't working is when we are waiting in our house for the rain to stop. This week rained a ton again. I have some pictures of the road becoming a river. It is actually quite impressive. We were only about 2 blocks from our house yesterday when I noticed the incoming clouds. I stopped my companion and explained what would happen. He left the decision up to me and I hesitated for 3 minutes or so. Bad idea. You learn to make a decision and act quickly here because 3 minutes hesitation means getting caught in crazy wind and rain. As we ran to our house I gave up my fight with the umbrella, closed it and ran head on. My companion was more patient as he walked with his umbrella singing the whole way. We arrived soaked but happy!! We were even more excited when we found the house without power again. It was great. I am not being sarcastic. Seriously we felt pretty darn good. We had good numbers and church was amazing. So we rested a bit and studied until the rain subsided. Then we ventured out again and taught some wonderful lessons.

This is the water that collects in the alley outside our house. It runs down the ally to the street, to a creek and then to the Amazon river. This is why the river always looks dirty, cause it is!

This is a picture of the street outside our house after about 5 minute of raining - it's a RIVER!

Particularly I want to to talk to you guys about a Monday night family home evening we had with the bishop of the Mauazinho Ward. We invited 3 families to come with us and two of them came!!! Albino and his family and the family of Renato and Josieli. It was amazing. When we picked up Renato and Josieli, they were all dressed up nice, and their two little girls were so freaking cute. I was so happy I wanted to just explode (yes it is an odd sensation). The spirit was so strong there as we watched a film about the life of Christ. Everyone shared their favorite New Testament story of Christ and it was fantastic. ALSO!! This week we finally got the papers to do Renato and Josielis Wedding, and this week we should get Albinos papers for his wedding too!!!!!!! I am soooooo freaking excited!!!! (it's very expensive to get married in Brazil and even more expensive to get divorced. In order for people that are living together to get baptised, they need to get married...)

We also had interviews with the president this week. This interview was fantastic. The president really is an inspired man. HE really helped me understand what kind of missionary I need to be. It was really funny that he asked me if I needed anything. I said a cellphone because we haven't had one in 4 months!!! He responded " Well, why have you not bought one then?" I was taken back. We have a rule that we are not allowed to buy our own phone. " I can do that?" He said "Yes!! If you NEED one then buy one. Go. Get outta here. Go find Elder Novais ( the Missionary in charge of the mission funds) and go buy a phone right now!" Well I left and tried to do just that. But as it turns out Elder Novais had already left and I couldn't. Well I thought if i need one, I will get one, just as the president instructed. I went and bought a sim card and I am currently borrowing a cellphone from a member until tomorrow when I get a mission owned phone. I think it would be good for you to know that the cellphone companies here are not at all the same. Everything here is prepaid and no one has a cellphone plan. To buy a nice phone like an iPhone, you have to buy it straight up for Lots O' Money. Then when you buy cellphone credit, it becomes really complicated on who you can call, depending on what provider they have and what kind of credit you are using. Man! I had my companion deal with it all for me because I just did not get it. I feel very blessed now that I had an iPhone back home with a wonderfully simple contract and good cell service. Cell credit is EXPENSIVE here.

We found a new family to teach this week. They are Heliton and Maria. We pass in front of there house almost every other day, and I finally had the courage to talk to them. They are amazing! They immediately accepted the invitation to read the Book of Mormon and they are very spiritual. Maria actually told me that " When I saw you passing by with that other missionary (Soelberg), I always thought you were hiking off into the forest to find a hill and pray for the people." She is a very special woman. My heart grieves for them though. I wrote a huge passage in my journal about them but I still want to tell you about their house. This house is about 12 by 12 feet and sits about 3 to 4 feet off the ground on wooden stilts. It stands in a floodplain of a creek, that during the rainy season, which is starting now, floods 2 to 10 feet depending on the year. The entire house is made out of thin, very old looking planks of wood that have been nailed together just enough to provide walls, a floor and a roof. However there are many gaps. On the side of the house is a small patio that is also raised off the ground and it is here where they have build stairs to climb up to reach the door. However, the bottom rail is broken. The entire house is not exactly standing straight but is actually slanted. It looks like just the slightest wind will be about its end. The inside has just one half wall, which is completed by an orange bed sheet hanging from the ceiling. They have only a bed for themselves, an old rack for clothes, a small gas stove and a very old fridge. I love this family but I sometimes just cannot take it. I feel terrible for their situation. They asked me the other day to pray for them that they could find a way to get construction materials to raise the house before the rain really comes, or else they might end up living inside the flood waters. Despite all of this they are always smiling and so happy. In fact they were the first people to show up to church. Before every ward member and even before us. We walked by and found them sitting our front of the gate. So we opened it and let them in, because we had to go pass by and pick up a few other people. The ward welcomed them with open arms and it was a miracle to watch as every seemed to greet them. The same thing happened with Renato and Josieli, who FINALLY came to church. And it was perfect.

CHURCH WAS PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the primary presentation, which means that the kids of the ward presented everything they had learned that past year! It was wonderful. I have never ever ever ever ever been in such a fantastic performance. To watch little kids speak so strongly of their savior and of the prophets, I almost cried. I was sitting with Renato and Josieli during the performance and the ward let their little girl Alessandra have a part in the presentation. She got to say the 2nd principle of the gospel: repentance. I must have been gleaming because I was so freaking happy I could have died right there. We had 9 investigators at church. One of them we actually had never taught him before. He lives in a house close to another person we are teaching and one day he asked when church was. We told him and he asked us to pick him up. So we did, and he really liked it.

I love being here. I love working my tail off.
Tell Zach Collier he needs to stop complaining about walking everywhere and man up!! HAHAHA.
I love this gospel. I KNOW that I am a servant of the Lord and His true church. Sometimes people find that offensive that We believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only church with the fullness of the gospel of Christ. If you are, I am sorry. But I cannot deny this truth I have come to know.
Always, I invite anyone who likes, or does not like to read this blog letter thingy, to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I can promise you from the bottom of my soul that it IS holy scripture, written by Gods chosen prophets and translated by the power of God through is prophet Joseph Smith. It is a true and correct book that will bring you happiness and can help you find ALL the wonderful blessing God and his Son have waiting for you. God will respond to all who read with "real intent", a "Sincere Heart", and " Faith in Christ", that this book is true.

Eu amo voçês
Elder Asa Laws

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