Mission Slideshow

Monday, December 31, 2012

Week #89 - Merry Christmas!


Well, here we are again for the second and final time, just before Christmas. It has been quite the year since we last spoke and I wish to write a very special letter home.

First, I will write about the week.

Mother, some of those packages you sent to the other missionaries have arrived! All of them have thanked me and asked me to thank the ward for the wonderful gifts! I really felt a wonderful spirit knowing that there are amazing people back at home who wish to help the Brazilian missionaries! These are gifts they have never recieve. I think 2 or 3 of them still did not get the packages yet but they will soon come.

We had the Christmas devotional for the mission this week. It was super cool. Let me explain! About half the mission came back to the city and we held a large conference in the acariquara chapel! We heard truly amazing messages from our president and his wife and then we ate a fantastic lunch. We also had a giant secret santa again which was quite funny. When you told everyone whose name you picked, you had to say something about him. Well, the missionary that picked me did not say a word. He simply stood and then placed his pen behind his ear (something that I do quite often). EVERYONE knew then that it was me and started laughing. Quite funny and I was laughing hard. I won a cool mug from the opera house in the center of the city. So I was happy.

Then we went out to a local zoo called INPA. It was pretty cool and I took some sweet fotos of some big gators! I was happy too because I got to see all my old companions again who are all doing really great. Christmas is great, right?

We also got to sing at the temple this year. My stake president organized a large interstake choir festival at the Manaus Temple and we were invited to sing as a mission. Of course I went and we sang "O Come All Ye Faithful," but in Portuguese. What was incredible was that I saw so many members again! TONS of people that have become my friends and family on my mission. It was awesome. I saw some people that I baptized too! I even got to see someone from mauazinho again! I was super happy to see her, Irmã Ana. It is incredible how many people that I have come to know and love in this city. I love Manaus and I love Brasil. I will cry so much when I leave here.

We also had a baptism this week. His name is Ericsson and he came to us on Thursday and said "It is my birthday on Sunday and I have been giving a lot of thought. I want to be baptized on Sunday!" We were shocked and super happy! My companion showed him the baptismal font. He was super excited and the service on Sunday was super beautiful. Lots of people came.

We also had the primary presentation this Sunday! I was SHOCKED at how much more kids know than I do! There was a young girl about 9 years old who gave a talk. Her name is Ana and she gave the best talk I have ever heard about the Holy Ghost. She quoted scripture and modern day prophets. She used "The Friend" and general conference. I was so incredibly impressed. I felt so happy! I do not think I have ever felt so impressed in my entire life! She brought a pure spirit that penetrated my heart and left me smiling so big, my smile fell off my face!

Okay, now onto part two of this letter.

I wish this Christmas that EVERYONE I know understands something very real to me. A man born of women, but not of man, was brought to this world through power not fully understood. He grew, grace to grace, becoming what he had been called to be before the worlds were. He walked ancient streets as any other, but preached as none other. He lived the way no other could. He died the only way his Father willed. Today, tomorrow, and really every other day we remember HIM.

I believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God, the redeemer of the world and the promised Messiah given unto the fallen man. I believe that He is the center of Gods great plan and that through His grace, I might be enabled to reach eternal life. I am truly grateful for this and I am HERE for this purpose, to help others understand and acquire faith and grace in and through Jesus Christ.

May this Christmas you find a special spirit in searching and celebrating your Saviour.

Eu vos amo,
Feliz Natal
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, December 17, 2012

Week #88 - "Look, they´re nuzzling my flesh with their noses!"- lilo and stitch


I cannot believe that Christmas has come so fast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We had a wonderful baptism this week. Alex was baptized. Let me tell you his story. Alex is a 20 year old who has already been taught by the missionaries many times, but he never really wanted to do anything with his life. That is until he started dating a Mormon girl. This girls mom, Silvia, sat him down one day and explained EVERYTHING to him and how if he was going to date her daughter, he was going to have to be someone and stop messing around. He was really hit by that and after wards, he went home to think about it all. Silvia called and told us to go there and talk with him. When we spoke with him he said "I have been giving it a lot of thought. I prayed and I want to go on a mission and be somebody. I want to be baptized!" So for 2 weeks we helped him out and after taking the gauges out of his ears, and a good haircut, he was baptized by my companion. Wonderful!

My ward, after some serious problems is really bouncing back. Our new ward mission leader has caught the fire and we are all over the place with him. He does visits EVERY DAY. We are working with the ward to make new mission plans. The leadership of the ward is just really getting behind us and wanting to help out now. I am super excited! I really makes all the difference when you have the leadership of the ward helping the missionary efforts.

We had zone leader counsel this week again. WOW, this meeting was super good and we got a lot done. We learned that our mission passed our 2012 goals already and we set new goals for 2013. One of these goals is "behold the face of God." Yea, quite a goal right? Well, in serious study we really wish to just put it all on the table and pull out all the stops. So we are going to work our tails off and our mission is going to just explode!

I performed some amazing interviews this week. Two actually. Laura and Junior. Wow, did I feel the spirit in these interviews. I just felt a profound love for them in helping them with their concerns and how to better follow Christ. With Junior, he has a few problems and we laid down a few plans that will help him do the right thing. I am so grateful that I can help people the best way that we can, through baptism. I just want to be the best I can.

We played soccer again this week, you know the non contact kind we are allowed to play. I think I am getting better. My old companion, Elder Pires, from a few months ago is back and he played with us. He was shocked at how much better I have gotten. I made tons more goals today. So much in love with soccer!!!!

Also, good news. Because of crazy transfer cycles this next year I will now be coming home earlier than I thought. I will be coming home the 2nd of April (landing in the US on the 3rd of April), and that means we are going to general conference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am super excited!

Feliz Natal, Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week #87 - I flied? No, you falled!


What a busy week! Let me see if I can write it all down. First things first. Dad, you know how you like black cars? Also, you know how we are always opposite in everything? Well, I realized this week that I really like WHITE cars. hahaha!

I GOT PACKAGES!! Both from Mother and Grandma Val. Man, what a ton of food! I am just pleased because I really do need to gain some pounds! I have already made a few cookies and I tried out those flavor straw things. Weird! Thank you for the milk though. This week, I will be eating the yams (I love them)! Seriously, I really am missing American food. Some days I do not even remember what it tastes like! Then there are days where I just want to scream for a frosty!! Anyways, I cannot complain because my mission is the best in the world.

Incredible news! The mission baptized 207 people last week! Yea! That is absolutely ridiculous. EVERYONE is working their tails off to just do our best and help EVERYONE. We were actually talking about it today how there are very few missionaries left in this mission who just do not like to work. Who do not talk and who do not teach and testify. Most are now doing their best! Yea! I am impressed at how young men can want to serve the Lord so much. A rare sight in these days.

So, I bought a few Indian things in Manaus. One of them is a decorative paddle. I had a member varnish it, and MAN, it looks so freaking cool! I took a picture, and I will be sending it. I think the culture here is very interesting.

We had a a GIANT family night this week at a members house. We invited over 40 people! ALL OF THEM CAME!!! We played a really cool interactive lesson that I came up with that involves running/fleeing from Satan. What you have to do is go from one wall to the other without Satan or his servants touching you. IF you make it, you passed one day without sinning. Let me just say NO ONE makes through. HAHA. Well, after a quick explanation, I teach them to hold hands, and if one holds the wall and the rest pass by in a chain, hand in hand, the devil cannot touch them. They are protected. So they did that, but found that sometimes the demons broke the chains. SO I told the demons that these "families", or chains had been sealed in the temple and they no longer had the power to break the bonds. Well, needless to say, by the end of the game, after that EVERYONE made it through all 7 days of the week without sinning. It was pretty cool.

We had interviews with the president. I was impressed that I felt this prompting in my interview, "learn to pray as the noble and great ones prayed." Just a thought for your weekly study.

WE HAD A BAPTISM THIS WEEK. Vitoria, who was supposed to be baptized last week finally got up the courage and be held the service on Saturday. It was beautiful and the water once again was very cold! I am so grateful for her and her decision to follow Christ.

We also had stake conference this week and it was via satellite transmission. Elder Ballard of the twelve spoke about "maintaining to the basics of the gospel". I will tell you that it is so weird to listen to him translated in Portuguese. Imagine watching a familiar face, expecting to hear a familiar voice, and instead you hear another in a foreign tongue. Weird stuff.

All in all, the week was great. I am getting super excited to call home, and I invite EVERYONE WHO READS THIS to be in my living room on Christmas day. okay? Sorry dad.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, December 3, 2012

Week #86 - * insert Peanuts Christmas theme music here.*


Wow! I feel really good. First, let me say that we finally went out and played a mission approved version of soccer. Basically a non contact way to play and it only lets you have 2 people per team but still, WE PLAYED! Oh man, I was needing that. I absolutely love playing soccer and I will definitely play after the mission.

IT'S DECEMBER AGAIN!!!!! What the heck, I remember very clearly writing to you last year in December and now one year has passed. Incredible! Wow, that was just crazy. So much has happened. I also very distinctly thinking to myself, "Wow, the next December is going to take forever to get here!" HAHAHA I was so wrong. It is pretty fantastic to be a missionary and I love it.

We had a our zone meeting this week. I do not how it works in the rest of Brazil or the world, but Mission Manaus has been doing something new. We have our zone conferences once every 3 months, but every month we have a zone meeting as well, with trainings given by the zone leaders. I think it is something very new, but I really do enjoy these meetings because we can help the entire zone at once. We have sister missionaries in our zone, and we never can do divisions with them, so the only way we get to pass along info to them is through these meetings. Anyway I enjoyed it this week. My companion made cookies for everyone and they were really darn good. I was impressed.

Also, as we were walking home on night a car swerved and tried to hit me. Very cool. I jumped out of the way but it was funny to see the look of the members faces that were with us. They could not believe it! hahaha. Anyways, I am good.

I have a few pictures I will try to send today of my eating fish. I love fish and here they have a lot of it. So enjoy the photos. But seriously, I really will miss the fish here. I have grown to love it!!! Oh man, I do like fish! I took a picture with a chicken too.

So we did a service project this week. Elder Doratiotto likes to work a lot so he goes after service projects. This week was "taking out the jungle" as they say in Portuguese. Really, that just means cleaning the yard. But in Brazil, no one has weedwackers or lawnmowers. They have machetes and hoes. So I grabbed a machete (facão) and I, for the first time in my life, mowed the lawn with a knife. It was super tall grass, but non the less it was very tiring, and my arm was in pain after-wards. New experiences, right? After-wards, it started to rain so we played that monopoly card game with the family there. I won twice!!! That was miracle in itself.

I was privileged this week to do more baptismal interviews and I was quite impressed with one young man. I had met him 2 weeks earlier on the street when I was doing interviews for some other people. We stopped and told him to stop drinking coffee. Well, he told me how from that day forward, he stopped and he felt like he should do everything that he could to be baptized! Incredible! Well, I do love interviews.

Something, however, happened this week that I did not enjoy. For the first time in my mission, our baptism changed her mind 2 minutes before the baptism!!! I was already dressed in white. She had come to church. Vitoria is her name. Well, we gave her a ride to church this week, and she came and was super integrated with all the girls. She had a good time. Yet right in front of the water she said "no, I do not want to do this right now." Wow, talk about harsh. I was super sad. Dressed in white, waiting on the waters edge. I felt like I was about to get married and was left at the altar! HARSH. Well, she calmed down and said she will be baptized next week. So, all's well that ends well.

Yea, I am a big fan of Christmas. So, this is what YOU will do for ME this Christmas. You will read the bible, Luke to be exact. You will read Christ's birth, and then you will share it with someone. You will post it on Facebook, or talk to someone on the park bench, or share with EVERYONE why we put trees in our houses and lights outside. This is what I want from you all for Christmas!!

I love my Saviour, and I love this time of year to give it all back to him.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, November 26, 2012

Week #85 - "My hair glows when I sing."


What a wonderfully full week!

First, news that there is a member in my ward that served in Missão Cuiabá, Roman's mission! Yes, he is a very cool guy and he informed me about all the cool things that are there. What is really cool is that he passed 2 transfers in Romans new area and told me all about the cool people there and stuff. He said that it is a very hard area, but I think Roman is up to the job. So go get em Roman!!!!!!!!

We had a wonderful family night at a member house this week and I was pleased with the number of people and members that came. The members here need to see how much we want to work and find and teach and help people. So that is why I am always glad to have a member of the church with us. My companion gave a wonderful lesson and we all ate and talked. Good stuff!!

So this week we went to the mission home and I was able to get MY CAMERA!!! I was super excited and shared my joy by taking funny pictures with the assistants and sharing my fruit snack spoils. Wonderful Stuff. But what impressed me was that the president gave a ride back home and I was super happy about that. He gave a doctrinal lesson in the car about prayer and about how faith really works. I was stunned because he said EVERYTHING that I was needing to hear and he talked about things that I had been studying the day before in a talk by Elder David A. Bednar. It was wonderful. I felt a spirit tell me that God really does know me and hears my prayers.

We had a meeting with the stake president and I was surprised because it was not how I had imagined it. I did not talk much but rather, I just observed and was absorbing how things work in my new calling. I really am having a hard time adjusting so I am trying to just observe. But hey, I will figure it out.

On thanksgiving, I totally forgot about it again this year because there are no Americans in my entire zone, just me. So, we had a good day of planning and running around to get our wedding organized. We found a new family to teach, Leila and Antonio and they are really special. She used to go to church as a kid! So we will see how she goes. Yea, I did nothing for the holiday. Sorry, I guess I'll just really have to celebrate big time next year!

We had another wedding this week. Rossinei and Larissa. They are a wonderful young couple who has been investigating the church for a few months, but they really do want to follow the savior. The ceremony was simple, but beautiful and once again the members of my ward really pulled it off, providing everything for us. I am very grateful for that. Rossinei used my suit for the wedding. Then on Sunday was there baptism. I was so grateful to be able to baptize Rossinei. I am a part of their lives for only a few short weeks and so it was an honor that he asked me to do it. The water was very cold. hahaha!

We have found many new families to teach and the ward is excited to help us. We have a new ward mission leader who is super excited and our meeting with him was great. He set up some good plans to involve these new members in the ward. His name is Frank and he is a really down to earth guy and I like that about him. He just not dream much, he thinks about it how it really is, and that is very important. Our mission has been baptizing like crazy. To give you an idea how ripe the fields are for harvest here in Manaus, this last week, our whole mission baptized 155 people! We have been seeing these kinds of numbers week after week since the temple opened. It's truly a miracle!!

Well, my week was really good and full of work. However, I learned a great new game, Monopoly DEAL (Bro Roberson will love this game)! It is a card game based on monopoly and it is really hard. I got creamed by my companion many times. But I won one time! I can't wait to teach you all when I get home.

I love you all soo much.
Eu vos amo

Elder Asa Laws

Week #84 - "You're Stressed... You need Desserts!"


It was a fantastic week, with MUCH that happened and I am just grateful for everything that God has given me.

FIRST. My suit is absolutely giant. I am sorry Mother but it was big when we bought it and it got even bigger. I used it this week at the wedding and I felt like a deacon again. I felt smaller than a deacon. I felt like a funny looking 1970's salesman who has no clue how to dress himself.

Also, as a zone leader you have to do tons of interviews for those who are accepting to enter into the waters of baptism and because of this we are always having to do interviews! TONS I did tons this week and I am really excited because I get to help so many people enter this true church. I just have this spirit that I want to tell everyone that really wants to hear. I do not want to teach those who do not want the truth, that will throw it away. I want to talk with all hose that God has prepared for me to teach. It is quite the work in Manaus. So we walk a lot.

We had another meeting with another 70 (general authority) from the church, Elder Adukatitis. He is our mission president's cousin and he is a really amazing guy. Wow, he was super cool. First things first. He told us we are not as good as they we are. HAHA. He commented that President Costa, the 70 that last visited us, commented to him about how good our mission is. Haha, however, he showed us, that truly we have a lot to improve on and we should set our sights even higher! He told us there is no reason that the Manaus mission does not have 100 visitors at every church every week! He really showed us that we have a lot that we could be doing to be even better. He also gave us a lot of ideas on how we can be better; techniques and principles to apply so hat we find more people! I was super inspired, and I felt something I had never felt before. I felt I could really do anything, a lot like Nephi when he says that if God told him to turn water to land, he could do it. I felt like that.

So, I have gotten to the point on my mission where I am no longer American. Really, nobody thinks that I am from the states. Some think I am Brazilian but just this week I had a few random guesses: Spain, Italy, England, and Argentina. I do not talk exactly like a Brazilian, but I do not talk like an American at all. So it throws some people. haha

WE HAD A WEDDING THIS WEEK! That is right, Antonia and Valdenor were married this week and let me explain it to you. The members got to together and set up the chapel in a beautiful theme of purple and silver. They provided tons of help! The bride of course arrived late and the ceremony was wonderful. They all were so happy. They and family from all over the state come and see, which is a big deal because the state is almost the size of Alaska. haha. My companion took tons of pictures that I will try to get to you guys ASAP, and it was super fun. I ate a ton and spoke with some really cool people about the gospel of Christ. Then the next day was their baptism. I was a bit worried about Antonia because she was not really all that sure. When she arrived at church however she was super happy and ready to be baptized. I was shocked. What shocked me more was that I have been here only for a few days and she asked me to baptize her! I was so honored, and it was one of the best baptismal services of my mission. I really wanted to cry, but I couldn't.

This week I gave a talk in church. I was followed by the stake president. HAHA. Well, I got up there and bore my soul about he first vision and said that the members "why are there spaces around in the chapel? Why is it not completely full in here? Why? Are we simply to comfortable with this space around us? Or is it because we have forgotten our objective as members of the church?" I know, a bit harsh right? Well, After I finished, the stake president took hold of that idea and went to town! Oh man, he layed down one of the best talks I have ever heard. Super inspired! However, what makes me even happier is that our bishop caught fire after that and said "We only have 90 people at church this week. Next week we will have 150 people!" I saw members go out and do tons of visits and we immediately received a referral! So, I hope we can get a good ball rolling here with lots of work.

We got lots to do! More meetings and more people. We have to just keep looking forward.

Eu amo todos vocês
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weeks #83 - "But you don't need to use the claw, If you pick a pear of the big paw-paw. Have I given you a clue?"

Boom! -

Wow, we had a super packed week and now it is just going to keep getting fuller! Sheesh, I have a lot to do now. For example, this last week:

Tuesday: Division and baptism in another area
Wednesday: Temple trip!
Thursday: Baptism in our area
Friday: Interviews for baptisms, president came for a visit
Saturday: More interviews!
Sunday: Meetings!!! Also, it rained a ton!

My new companion is Elder Doratiotto. He is from Jundiai, São Paulo. That is the same place that Elder Costa is from, my companion from January last year! He is of Italian descent and is a really cool guy. He loves cars but is not that talkative and I have a bit of trouble just conversing with him. But all will be well. He likes to work! We will get to know each other better and it will be fine.

My new apartment is small but it has AC and hot water! We have a rat friend who we are trying to remove but he is stupid fast! haha. It was pretty dirty when I arrived but today we both got up and started cleaning everything! Now it is worthy to be a missionaries house!

So, if you are wondering what I have to do now that I was not doing before, I will explain. As a Zone Leader, you have to do everything you do as a District Leader, but on a larger scale. Also, you are the fireman of the zone. What that means is any little problem that happens, you have to control it before it gets out of hand and something bad happens. When things fall through for your missionaries, you have to go there and fix it all and make sure it all happens correctly. We are always leaving and going to other missionaries areas to do interviews, or give a blessing to someone or to speak to someone who has a serious problem. It is a lot of walking. hahaha. We also, then have to maintain the work in our own area. I think it is hard to balance the two things. But hey, that is life.

Also, one of the things I was not expecting is that I am the junior companion again! That is a very hard transition for me. Wow, it is weird because I do not make the calls when things do not work out. Appointment fell, I do not choose where to go next. I do not have the cellphone and I am not responsible for much in our area at the moment. I do not know many people either. The members notice when you are senior or junior and they treat you that way. When you are senior you are constantly marking things down and talking with the leadership and making decisions. Junior, you stand at the side and watch, making the occasional comment to help out. I forgot how this is and it really freaked me out this pasted few days.

However, I am learning a lot. Also, it is funny to speak with new people because I almost do not have any accent, and it throws a few people through a loop sometimes. There is a lady in our ward who heard me bare my testimony at church and thought I was from São Paulo. I like it when they think I am Brazilian, because I really do try to speak as well as I possibly can.

So, on the division. I think I already said this, but a division is what you call exchanges in the US. Okay? Good. Well, on my first day in my area, I went on a division to another area. I went and I had a really good time actually. It was nice to be able to get to know new people and just teach from your heart. However on the division, we had go to the sisters area to give a blessing to one of their investigators who has a smoking problem. So we had leave the area where we were teaching and go to another! HAHA and here we descended into a shady area. It was really a lot like Mauazinho there (very first area), so I liked it a lot. The lady, Antonia, really did have the desire to change and I hope the best for her. Also, on the division I bought pizza and I was so tired after that day that I fell asleep while we were planning for the next day! I was super tired!

Also, I discovered a soft-serve ice-cream shop and I have bought 6 cones there already! I love vanilla.

So, I said we went to the temple, right? Well, it was great and once again, while at the temple, the president was there. I saw him sitting there with his wife reading the scriptures, and I thought "cute, I will definitely do that with my wife." (no joke, I thought that) Well, little did I know, he was looking for a particular scripture. He found it, got up, and came to speak to ME about it. He sat down by me and we had a quite and very special chat. I am always impressed that he knows exactly what to say and when to say it. It was a personal moment, and I do not think I will write what he shared with me, but it was what I needed.

We had a baptism this week. Jesse is an investigator that they had already been teaching before I had arrived. He was very happy to be baptized. I always love baptismal services. Really, they have very special feelings. However, our font is broken, so that water we have in it right now is 2 weeks old. yuck@!

Yea, I am tired. It is hot. But I a loving my mission. Things sometimes change just when you do not expect it and God has a plan in all things. I am excited to see how that plan rolls out here for a few more months!

Sad. Romney, I chose you (much like pikachu!)

Eu vos amo!
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week #82 - They come. They eat. They leave! - A Bug's Life


Sometimes you just never really know what is coming around the corner until you get there. I will explain later....
So this week was probably the greatest week of my entire mission. I know I said that last week but this really was THE best! I have never so tried hard to be the best I can be. I have never been pushed to do so much in so little time. We worked our tails off. Then we kept working some more. We walked, and run, and prayed, and fasted, and then we had to work some more. We worked in the morning and then we worked at night. At 1pm in 120 degree heat we worked and in raging storms we worked. I am extremely grateful for work this week and I have truly learned what you can do when you trust the Lord.

So this week was very interesting. Their was a large storm that came through the same night as the hurricane hit in the states. My house was completely fine but we know a few people that had their roofs torn off. It actually did a lot of damage in the city here and that night the entire city went without power. I did not sleep very well. We woke up to find our house still without power and our cell phone did not work because some of the cell towers were destroyed. AGH! It was a trying day because we're in the process of helping 2 couples get married and we needed someone to come get their documents from us and take them to the right place. But without a cell phone we had no way of getting in contact. When the call network came back on, we found out that the mission office was without Internet and cell-phone service. We were running around trying to get everything in order and solve our impossible problem, when Elder Fonseca remembered he had a telephone pre-paid card in his wallet to use at a payphone. We prayed the payphones still worked and THEY DID!!! We managed to get a very weak connection to the land line at the mission office and we got permission to walk to the office and deliver the papers. That day, we must have walked 12 miles! This week we walked and taught everyone we could find. We prayed and set goals, and worked our hardest to hit every single goal we had. We met almost every one.

We had a mission tour this week with Elder Costa, President of the Brazil area. It was quite incredible because Elder Costa was the first mission president of the Manaus mission. WOW. This tour was amazing. He had a huge zone conference with all the missionaries from 3 cities together in Manaus. We had a meeting with him as the mission leadership before the rest of the meeting. I was impressed at how he complimented us on our work and our dedication, and really he only gave a few pointers to help us grow even more. I felt like he really trusted us. He spoke with us about being a model of Christ and how we are to live in such a way that others feel our love of Christ in our hands. I was quite touched, especially by that thought. Then came the full meeting with Elder Costa. He decided to compliment every missionary personally. So we all got in line to shake his hand and the mission presidents hand. When I shook the mission presidents hand he said "Elder, are you ready for EVERYTHING?" I said yes, that my area was well prepared. But he did not let my hand go, and repeated "No Elder, are YOU ready for everything?" I said yes again even more emphatically, and I then went to shake Elder Costas hand. He asked me where I was from and I responded Vancouver Washington, to which he said "I love it there. The fish are great!" I laughed and told him I really miss salmon.

NEW MISSION RULE: NO MORE FOOTBALL (SOCCER) Yep, those new soccer shoes you sent me mother, are now baseball shoes. haha
The rest of the day was full of the spirit. It helped me see many of the things that I was doing that were great, and many new things I can do to become better. He did not talk about rules, or superficial topics that often many missionaries need. No, he spoke mostly about how the church is organized and how things work on the logistic side of things. Really it was a lot less doctrine and a lot more information than I expected. But I guess that just is because our mission is just doing so well that we do not need to be reminded on how to properly use a tie or iron a shirt or to shave every day. Mission Manaus, I feel, is finaly beyond those sorts of things. So that is why he committed us to a much higher goal than normal. We are going good. But we have to our best and leave nothing undone! haha. Give it our all the help those around us.

So, about the corner issue (fom the beginning of the letter). This week a new stake was organized in my mission and because of this, the mission decided to divide a few zones. They made 3 new zones this week and that meant mini transfer. Well, I now understand why the president asked me if I was ready because I was transferred to a new area, new companion, and new calling. I am zone leader in my old stake, Samauma, with Elder Doratiotto. He is a really cool Elder from São Paulo and we are going to have a blast! I am actually already in my new area today and I am already feeling that things will become very different. I am actually very sad about this change because I was in Ajuricaba for 5 months. I loved the members there. I was working with 3 weddings. I had the best house in the mission with literally the greatest companion ever! We worked together only for 2 weeks but Elder Fonseca and I had a blast!! 2 weeks that changed my mission. Now it is on to newer and harder things. It is very likely this area will be my last area on the mission. So I am feeling like I should get comfortable. Mom, feel free to send anything you want to me because I will be going to the mission office almost once a week now to pick things up. It will be an honour to serve in this new area and to serve these Elders. It is a wonderful ward that I have already had the privilege to know, months ago. I used to be in Cadade Nova, which is just a few kilometers away! haha! So for me, I am cool. I will probably end my mission with just 5 areas! haha! And only 4 zones!

Well, I bore my testimony on Sunday and said some things that I wish to be known here. FIRST: I BELIEVE IN CHRIST. I know he lives and I know he is my Savior. Second: JOSEPH SMITH SAW GOD. This is fact. I know it for fact because the spirit whispered so, unto my soul. I have no doubt in the truthfulness of this work. I know for a fact all that I teach and all I am learning, is sent by God for the salvation of His children. If you want to know more about how I know these things, write me, and then pray and ask God yourself.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, October 29, 2012

Week #81 - *Insert the soundtrack to fantasia here*


The title of my letter is very important this week. Why? Because my new companion might just be the coolest companion I have ever had. His name is Elder Fonsca and he is from São Paulo. He is 24 years old and was baptized at 22 years old. He made a promise to himself at baptism to follow all the teachings of the prophets and that meant serving a mission. So, now having 10 months on his mission, his has in total as a member of this restored church 1 year and 10 months under his belt. What a good guy! Also, this is why he is the coolest guy.... He a music major at São Paulo University and is focusing in conducting!!!! Yes, please read that again and try to imagine the vague tunes of Bach and Handel oozing out the the front door of our apartment everyday and the massive grin on my face!!! He is a huge fan of baroque music, if you know what that means haha! So we talk about this sort of stuff all the time. Well, actually only at home at night because during the day we have to WORK!

Seriously, I have never had a week quite like this week! I have not learned so much and grown so much in such a short period of time, in a LONG TIME. WOW, it is amazing, a mission. It really is. This week we set some incredibly great and hard goals. We planned out everything. Every moment was to be used. Every person was to receive what they needed. We wanted to teach and help as many people as possible! I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO TIRED IN MY LIFE! but is a good tired. It is a tired that gives back to you, knowing that you can keep going, doing exactly the will of the Lord. Miracles happened. People were touched. We felt a wonderful spirit guiding our footsteps. We prayed our hearts out to know the path to take and the people to teach. We are constantly looking around every corner for that one person God has sent to us to teach. We have very high goals, but we have a very powerful Father who is helping us. And for that, we succeeded. We do all we can and in the end, it is the Lord that has given everything to us. I am so glad for that. I have seen what I can do by myself. And that is not enough. I am thankful to feel the Lord's help everyday.

So, here is a interesting story. I have a friend who just ended her mission in Belém and informed me that she would be visiting Manaus to see the temple. Well, the other day we had lunch with Giselle and Paulo (on wednesday) and we were on the way to their home in their car when we began to talk about the temple. Giselle goes to the temple many times throughout the week, so she loves talking about the temple. I forget how it was brought up, but I mentioned that Sister Welch (my friend) said she was going to temple with her family, but I did not know when.

Giselle turned around and said to me "Wait, is she a short American who speaks Portuguese?"
I said, "Yes."
She said, "brown hair, blue eyes?"
I said , "Yes."
She responded with, "She was with her parents, a really tall guy and his wife?"
I replied, "With her parents, yes. But I really have no clue if her dad is tall or not."

Giselle then started laughing and told me that she happened to meet them in the temple and spoke with them that week! Just a testament to how small the world can be sometimes, right?

So I GOT YOUR PACKAGE MOTHER!!!!!!!! The one with the water bottle. It has already arrived and I am thankful for everything in it.

Water bottle- I use it but I am sorry to state that it does not maintain cold water in the Manaus heat. Just mildy cold, lukewarm water. But I ask for new water every house we stop at, so it is all good.

PB and Jelly- GREATEST SANDWHICH EVER. I love just making a sandwich whenever I want.

Rubik's cube- Endless fun just before you go to bed. I find it really helps out to calm me down in preparing to go to bed. Mindless puzzle...

Emergen-C - wonderful. I feel really good. I feel REALLY good. Lots O Energy!

Lego guy- Sits on my dresser reminding me I am a child and always wish to remain so.

Garlic- at first I was confused with this choice of item. There is fresh garlic here too. BUT, now I do not have to buy it and chop it up. I can make garlic eggs every morning now! Very good. I really like garlic-ee eggs in the morning!

Really, I just enjoy the comforts from home. They make me feel not so far away. Sometimes it is hard to remember that I am in Brazil. Sometimes I remember all too easy. Thank you for sending the goodies!

ALSO, The tie is beautiful. Thank you Dray family!!!

Side-note- my companion thinks its funny all my ties are all purple, or close to purple. I like purple ties!

We did a service project this week where we filled bags full of sand, and put them on the side of a members house. The night before it had rained so the sand was WET! Much heavier! But we managed to get most of it done until we ran out of bags to fill. The member is a wonderful old women who lives relatively alone. She is the only active member of the church in her house sometimes. Her grandson went on a mission and she feels so far away from him and it tears her up. So she loves talking to the missionaries to feel close to someone. She felt so bad as we worked and wanted to pay us! We refused, so said "give me a minute." She went to the store, bought some great food and gave it to us, saying to me so carefully "Please accept it. please." My heart just wrenched and I accepted the food. I was glad to do the work, because wearing a tie every day is sometimes just too much!

This week Elder Costa of the 70 will tour our mission. He was in Roman's mission a few weeks ago if I remember correctly. I am excited. I will get to meet him again.

So, I am happy. I am tired, but happy.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, October 22, 2012

Week #80


"Quero entender! Conte Tudo! Quero Saber desses estranhos com eu!"- Tarzan in Portuguese!

Well, there goes the transfer! Only 4 more to go!!! That really hit me this week that my mission is coming to an end. I do not like that. It goes too fast.

This transfer, I will be staying in Ajuricaba for another 6 weeks, my fourth transfer in total. My beloved companion will be going. Yes Elder Moreira is leaving, to Campos Eliseos, which is the ward that sits to the south of ours. Actuyall, it is the closest area to mine in the whole mission. So he is not going very far. My new companion will be a Brazilian who I know nothing about, but I will meet him tomorrow. I am sure he will be a great missionary, that way I can leave after this next transfer. 6 months is a long time for a missionary to stay in one area. As for the rest of my district, Elder Carlos will be leaving and he will be going to the other side of the city and another Brazilian will come in his place. Once again, I will be the only American in my district. 1 of only 2 in my zone! Really, our mission has very few Americans and even less sisters. Its hard core!!!

So, I gave a talk at church this week. I was informed Saturday night when the bishop called, asking me to fill up a spot at church. I accepted of course, and asked "what would you have me talk about?" "Oh, talk about missionary work, or the restoration of the church. You know, missionary stuff!" Well, I liked the idea of talking about he restoration and after much thought and prayer, I decided to simply read from Joseph Smith-History, the first vision. I practiced a bit reading, trying to really convey what I wanted, and when I got up there I asked for reverence. I read, slowly, and with a kind of Elder Holland tone. Strong and emotional. I wanted everyone in the room to feel what I feel when I read that account. Then, I simply told the members, in so many words, why that message was so important and why they have to share it with everyone. It was quite powerful for me and I knew I had said what God wanted me to say. The rest of the meeting was pin-drop silent. Many member thanked me for the talk. I was flattered, but I just hope we see results. We need the members help. I love them and love to work with them.

Last P-day we met a women in the super-market who stopped us and asked "Hey, can women go to your church? I heard it is just for men?" We stopped, kindly corrected her and explained how she was more than welcome to come and we would love to come to her house and offer a lesson. She accepted and told us how her husband used to come to our church. We left and I thought little of it after. Normally, people that stop us on the street do not actually want to be visited. Well we went there twice already and they are an amazing family. Elizangela and Raimundo. Raimundo went to church for 3 years but never was baptized. They told us that they already believe the Book of Mormon is true. So now we have to teach them! hahaha! Sometimes even on P-day God sends you people to teach.

I finally made those oatmeal cookies that were sent to me a month or so ago. Well, wait, let me start again. We finally got enough money to buy a new tank of gas for our new stove. Yes, we had a new stove for 3 weeks without using it because we had no gas. Well, now we do and to inaugurate, we made cookies! THEY WERE AWESOME and I have decided that I am in love with cookies again. I will eat a million when I get home!

At lunch on Sunday, we had pineapple juice, but the problem is the pineapple was washed, but lo, it was not rinsed of the soap. So when it was blended and given out to drink. It still had much of that soapy flavor. It was so funny to watch everyone freak out as they drank pineapple-soap juice!!! No, it was not good. But it was certainly a lunch I will likely to remember.

So in all of Brazil, the church has decided to give a new focus for the pass along cards, but the missionaries will not use them. We had an activity where the members were given 500 cards in total and went out to just hand them out and explain to everyone what they were and how they could receive free dvds about Christ and even receive a Book of Mormon. Well Jane, who we are teaching, went to town handing those cards out and she is not even a member of the church, yet. She is really loving the church and is excited for her wedding! Many members enjoyed it and saw how easy it really is to talk about the gospel. I hope to see much fruit from this activity.

Yes, I am good and I am happy. The gospel is true, the book is blue!

eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, October 15, 2012

Week #79 - You don't wanna know where I got blisters - Dinosaur


I HAVE 1YEAR, 6 MONTHS ON THE MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is right, I have been here for that long and I still got me 6 more months to stay in the sun. Yep, six months of tan, sweaty, amazingly full of love months. Lets get to work. We have no time!!!!!

So, this week we had some fantastic lessons with people, and a couple of funny stories.

We started the week by cleaning out our old house! It was full of nastiness and garbage, so my companion and I went over there for a few hours on Tuesday and Wednesday to clean it all out!! We destroyed a few old dressers and things that were just garbage and in the end we had a clean house and a very large pile of wood to clean up, with no place to put it. The garbage man does not take wood and you cannot take it to the dump directly. I was a bit worried of what to do. And on top of that, we had an old stove to throw out too! What to do! Well, I spoke with the owner of the house and he said "look, just put it all outside and the people here will take it all, trust me." So we did just that. We threw out all the wood, two rotten looking mattresses and the stove. Less than 10 seconds after, 2 men came up and took the mattresses, telling me that were going to make new cushions for their couch! The wife of the owner of the house grabbed some wood and said she wanted to make a table. The next day, ALL of it had been "repurposed", including the old stove. Well, you have to hand it to them, "waste not, want not."

I had another experience about this same thing this week. Neyderson, a man we baptized a few months back, is trying to fix up an old car that his uncle gave him. It is a 1992 Volkswagon gol, a car not sold in the states. Imagine a golf but WAY smaller. Now imagine it really old, purple, and boxy. Also, it is beaten up. He was at his house using a screwdriver and a piece of an old fan to punch holes in the shape of a circle into a piece of ply-wood. He would hit the screwdriver with the fan piece until it punched through and did so until he had punched out the disk from the plywood. Then, using a kitchen knife, he cut a hole through the felt on the other side. All of this to make a hole to put a speaker in the board, which was to be mounted in the back of the car. He then showed us the car. The gas tank had rusted out, so in the back of the car was a large plastic bottle full of gasoline and a plastic hose which was fished through the cabin of the car, all the way into the engine, where it was taped onto where the carburetor should have been, but was not. No, it had been rigged to simply pump gas into the engine without a carburetor. I was quite shocked and I told him he should be very careful because that was all very dangerous. You could not pay me to get into that car (maybe 100 bucks would do it).

So we have left the old house now and that means the other Elders moved out too.]The president actually took out a dupla from my district and sent the dupla other to live in a house on the other side of the area. Let me explain. My district is made up of two wards, Ajuricaba and Redenção. Redenção is a giant area that actually covers two communities. Redenção and Campos Salles, which is an hour away by bus. Well, Elders Adhans and Carlos moved up to Campos Salles now and they live far away. So that means that for me to do an interview this week, I had to take 2 buses and a long time to get there! At one of the bus terminals, I met Luiz from Cidade Nova who I taught and was baptized! I was so happy to see him especially because he was going to Institute! He is super strong in the church! What a blessing. He told me how it has been so hard to be a member but he just cannot bring himself to give up and not go to church every week, because he KNOWS that it is true. Great to see him again. Then we took the bus out to Campos Salles and it took for ever. I arrived and did a 20 minuted interview just to leave again right after. But we knew it was to going to take for ever to get home. So we called Paulo, our ward mission leader and asked him to pick us up at the airport. The bus out to Campos Salles stops by the airport, so we just planned to get off there. It worked out great and we got home in 40 minutes! WINNING! However, he said that while we was there waiting for us to arrive, he met Sister Klein, the presidents wife and talked with, telling her that he was "there to pick up Elder Laws and Moreira. Haha, he told us that she looked really puzzled, but until now, she has not called me to ask what I was doing at the airport. haha

We had a lesson this week with Jane, Tadeus wife. She has made some serious progress, and going to conference just sealed the deal with her. She told us of how she has seen a dramatic change in her husband and her family and that she believes in the Book of Mormon. She accepted to be baptised and we have their papers in to get married!!!! I am super excited!!! Sorry I do not write much about the lessons we teach. It's because I write that kind of stuff in my journal.

Tadeus younger got baptized this week! She is 12 years old and she is just a little rebel who needs help. But she likes the church and reads the Book of Mormon every day. When she came to church this week the young women stormed her, and planned to take her to activities, and dances, and hang out. It was quite cool. Good friends are exactly what she needs. YOU GO GIRLS (cannot believe I just wrote that. shame on me)

We also had a wonderful lesson with a couple we met 2 weeks ago, Betinho and Carol. They are wonderful people who went to conference and read the Book of Mormon by themselves! They even took us to their house to watch a video and we have that talks about the restoration of the church! It was full of the spirit and they were most certainly touched.

Well, that was my week. I had a great. time. Time is really flying by. See you in six!
Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week #78 - Graceful...


Well, let me start off this letter with a cool story, then we can get to the details of the week. I fell down a staircase this week. Actually I fell down a concrete staircase plated by tile and I did it just before conference, yesterday. It hurt! Well, I wanted to watch conference in English at our church. I really do not like watching it translated. It just does not grab me the way it does in English. However our church is not equipped with a dual channel receiver and I was left with just the Portuguese. But wait! I got the bright idea to watch it on the computer in the secretaries office! Only problem was, the computer did not have an extension cord so I could plug in all the devices (dumb pc). So, we ran over to a members house who lives by the church, ran up the stairs in front of his house and asked to borrow and extension cord. He gave it to us and we started to run back. However, his neighbors dog, a boxer, would not have us interrupting any more. Yes, a boxer chased me all the way to the stairs, where I lost my footing and feel head first down a 10 step concrete staircase! GOD saved me! I rolled once, tucked me head in and basically slid down most of the staircase, tearing a small hole in my shirt. I swear, Angels held my head up just inches above hitting those stairs with each role, because I did not hit my head once! I simply rolled, slid and stopped in a heap at the bottom; to find on lookers who watched me biff! As I fell, I only thought one thing " Dude, you're falling down the stairs." After, laying at the bottom I only thought one other thing; "Crud, their goes conference. I really hope I didn't break anything." Elder Adhans was with me. He stopped the dog and smoothly asked if I was okay. I do not remember if I responded. I got up, told everyone I was fine and we walked back to the church. We turned on the computer, plugged in the screen, logged on, opened the Internet, found a connection, opened conference, only to find we had no speakers to hear Elder Packer speak. I was also hurting. So we went to my new house which is right in front of the church. I took off my shirt to find my back pretty beaten up because thats where I mostly slid, but I was surprised at how good it all looked. I was expecting more blood. Nothing that serious happened. I cleaned it all up, bandaged myself with some help and we returned to find that a member so kindly gave us his laptop to watch conference in English. All's well that end's well, right?

So, the rest of the week. WE MOVED! That is right, we have a new, beautiful apartment and it is full of amazing things!

stove, washing machine, iron, ironing board, and microwave

Soon to be received items:
cabinets and dressers

Almost new things we brought with us:

This house is so clean and I love how it is so close to everything. We have basically all the best things and I worry over nothing in our house! The president came by and liked the new house and helped us organize some things. I was really excited to move and I am more excited that I am now in a great house. BEST MISSION HOUSE EVER!

Grandma Val and Papa Thom, I got your MRE package and I have to say I LOVE the food!!! After a long time without sloppy joes and beef enchiladas, your mouth explodes with happiness!!! I have been completely full for 2 days straight now and I still have a lot more to eat. Really, let me take this time to publicly thank you from my heart. You have given me so much on my mission. Not just food and shirts, but I feel your love and prayers. I know that through the spirit, I can feel your warmth.Thank you for being so involved in my mission. I love you guys!

General conference was absolutely fantastic. I received so many impressions, and I really cannot explain how much, or what I enjoyed the most. I received so much. However, after listened to elder Holland, I have a renewed desire to show Christ that I really do love him and I want to do His will. I will most definitely study this conference more! We heard the amazing announcement about the age being reduced for missionaries and I have to say I am super excited. It comes late for me to see the effects of this change on my mission, but I am sure Roman will see a huge difference. ALSO, I am sure KATI will see a huge difference on her mission too! It is a good choice Kati. NO, it is the best choice! At conference we had 7 investigators come and all commented on how they felt an amazing spirit and want to know more about those men on the TV and why they are different.

Our mission had a miracle last week. We baptized 93 people. That is just amazing and something that does not happen in every mission. I can tell you that Brazil is ripe for the harvest! We just need more missionaries!! It was amazing and the Brazilian area presidency called our mission president to congratulate us! But in the end, it is not about a number. We are so happy because so many people have come to know the truth!

Well, that was the week.

I love you
eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week #77 - "What would her father say? I'll tell you what her father'd say. He'd say he's gonna kill himself a crab, that's what her father'd say!"


Well, first I am so very proud of my brother Roman. His mission is looking like the coolest mission ever and I just know he is the best Elder on the Planet!!! Go get 'em!!!!!!

Second, I had a good week. It was a slow week and a learning week, but a good week none the less. We started our week off by going to the temple on Wednesday. Wow, I just absolutely love the temple and I learn so much when I go there. Really, I have come to understand a lot more clearly this gospel and the bare truths of God's plan for us, but going to the temple. The temple provides answers and instruction. It brings peace and order. I can go to the temple, looking for an answer that I just cannot find anywhere else and God always seems to have an answer there for me. I always leave so filled and ready. I wish I could go every week. Alas....

So, on the mission I have already read the Book of Mormon 3 times and the new testament once, along with a ton of other things! So for the last 2 months I had put aside reading the Book of Mormon to try to read other scripture. Yes, I would look up a verse or two but it was not reading directly, every day. Well, I started again this week and it has been wonderful to read such an inspired book, such scripture. Yes, I really do believe that it was written by prophets of the ancient Americas (see the introduction of the book itself to know more) and I find solice and guidance within it's pages. I once again invite anyone within the reach of my blog to read this book. It does good things!

Funny side-note: this week I was writing up our weekly report while eating a "pastel". A pastel is like a scone filled with meat and cheese (reminds me of a hot pocket). I find them to be quite delicious and deep fried! Well, as I was writing, I grabbed the yucky Brazilian ketchup and accidentally squirted i it ALLL over my report! I was saddened but laughed it off and decided to just try to copy the report on a scanner. Well it worked and on the copy the stain didn't come through, so it looked okay. SAVED! I did not want to make a new one.

Speaking of that report, we made it in response to a very good meeting with the ward bishop here. Our bishop had a meeting with the president of the mission and that really lit a fire under him. HA! Now he really wants to start helping us. So we created a new ward mission plan and we are going to involve the members A LOT more. I am super excited because everything is better with the members involved! So, if you are member who is reading this, go invite the missionaries to do a family night in your house and then invite your friends to visit too!!!

In our house we still have my old mattress. Well, it was being useless just propped up against the wall, so we decided to turn it into our new practice goal for soccer. Every day we take a few shots at it with the soccer ball and it helps me get better!!! haha. Sometimes Elder Carlos likes to have someone hold it up and he starts wailing on it all UFC style (UFC is huge in Brazil. They like to watch dudes fight on tv. I do not.) He throws kicks and punches until finally the person holding the mattress throws it on the ground, followed by Elder Carlos jumping on top and body slamming the it. This all leads up to the inevitable choke-hold that knocks out the mattress and Elder Carlos always comes out the winner. I can't for the day the mattress finally wins.

Though, to be honest (and excited too) I will never see that day because I am MOVING!. Yes, I finally got permission to move out of my yucky house and find a house for me and my companion. We have already found one and have it contracted and everything! Tomorrow we move in and leave behind all the dirtiness of the last house. The new house is great. Actually, it is an apartment with one main room, a kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom. It is small but the price is good and it is directly in front of the church building. It will be just for me and my companion. I am excited to have a house just for us two and not my whole district. It is fun to live with a bunch of guys but it can be really hectic sometimes. So I will be glad to find quietness again! Also, the new bathroom is way nice. I am excited.

I will be honest. I got trunky this week. It was really hitting me that I am so close to home and I found myself thinking on college, and girls, and family, and bacon maple bars and everything amazing that my home has to offer. We only have a few people that we are teaching right now and some times we just have nothing to do for 30 or so minutes. This week I just drifted off into dream land during one of those breaks. It was rough, but I made it through and I realized that I only have a few months to do the most I possibly can as a missionary. So now is not the time to dream. It is the time to work. On the plane home I can dream (of Portland timbers home games and Burgerville fries!)

Well, that was the week. Sorry it was not as cool as my brothers week, but hey my mission is great!

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, September 24, 2012

Week #76 - Stop following me, okay?! - Dory


So our roof has been fixed but for some reason it still leaks two two parts! In the bathroom and on Elder Adhan's bed!!!! Ya, he really did not like that it has been raining all day and we came back to the house only to find his bed SOAKING wet. Well, that is how it goes int the rain forest. It is so stinken hot!!! Just thought you should know. Over 105 every day! I am melting...

Also, we have a rat that lives in our ceiling that has been eating a hole in the ceiling panels. It has gotten pretty big now and we talked to the owner of the house. He really does not feel like it is a big problem but we do!! So, as you can see we have a few problems in our house and I want to move. I already found a newer nicer place but let us hope that the mission approves the move!

Oh! also, our fridge broke! We spent the whole week without water in our house, which was harsh when we got home and had nothing to drink! Here is what was lost in the wake of that storm last week and not fridge:
spoiled Brownie mix
Jam went bad
All our tererê was ruined
no cold water
My syrup for pancakes went bad
my root beer too!

Even though all of this happened we had a wonderful week!! I loved basically every minute of it, other than the stress of our house issues. Yes, three brothers were baptized and it was so cool to see there progress this week. Abner, Ary Adler, and Cassio. They are all sons of a member who has come back to church recently and their family is just so cool. I love teaching them. There situation is quite humble but they have amazing hearts and you just have to to love them! Sunday they all were baptized and all just dancing with excitement. Cassio basically threw himself into the water when he was baptized! I love my mission.

We had interviews with the president this week and it was great. I just sat and spoke with him about my district and how each of them were doing. We really got to discuss the needs of my missionaries and it was nice to see how much he trusts me. God has a plan in all of this that goes on and I am so thank for for every single one of the missionaries in my district. They are all doing a great job and really pushing to get better. We see miracles daily.

So, right now is voting time in Brazil too and I hate politics here. It makes American politicians look like saints. I do not really need to go into details but here, there are a ton of problems and really no body has any solutions. Heck, a drug dealer is running for mayor here!!!! Anyways, I am glad that I do not have to vote here.

The week just goes by so fast now a days and I cannot believe I am coming up on 1 year and six months. That is just not fair. Sorry, I feel like my letters are getting super short, but really, we just work, and joke, and have fun. The mission is going great.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week #75 - She´s gonna eat me! - Lion King


This week was quite an interesting week. I feel good because I have a few good stories.

FIRST: I almost died!!! Ya, it was the first time that I can remember where I seriously could have died. I was eating a granola bar at transfers, waiting to get the new members of my house when I made a funny joke. OH man, it was funny. We were talking about dreams and I made the comment that I have never had a dream about eating something. Then I looked at Elder Sant, is a bit overweight (and he is proud of it I might add) and I said "I bet you have". I was just playing around and it was so funny. Well I inhaled a large piece of the granola bar and found myself incapable of breathing. Nothing, no air at all! So I got up, looked at Elder Sant, motioned that I could not breath, and let him know that he needed to save me. He laughed but then said "wait, really"? I rolled my eyes and then turned, waiting for the Heimlich, which was actually not as painful as I thought it would be. Well, the granola piece came out and I lived. Gasping for air, I turned to Elder Sant and said to him "This granola bar is really good. Thanks". I then took another bite and we continued our conversation. About 2 minuted later it finally hit me, "wait, you were choking to death". Up until that point, I did not even think about that. I was not afraid at all. REALLY WEIRD. Anyway, after a week of a sore throat, I am fine. Okay, Mom?

Second: We had a really cool activity this week that we put on at the church. We called everybody down for " choco-night". We set up an activity and lesson from the Book of Mormon and in the end, everyone won chocolate! Here's what we did. In the chapel we ran a rope about 150 meters long and made a complicated, very difficult path to follow, and called it our "Rod of Iron." Yes, we explained to everyone Lehi'sdream from First Nephi, Chapter 8 in the Book Of Mormon. We put on a play to explain it and I, dressed in all white, was the angel that appeared to Lehi. My companion wore brown pants, a green tie, and held out branches to represent the Tree of Life. Well. Then all 70 people that came were blindfolded and we had them follow our crazy web of a trail through the chapel. At the end of the line I waited with white chocolate for all of them. It was really cool! Every one had a blast.

Third: We had a huge storm pass by Saturday night and it did a bit of damage to our house. Let me explain. We were all sleeping when we were woken up by what sounded like grenades being thrown on our roof. They of course were not grenades, but actually mango's form the tree behind our house. It was a severe wind storm that was bursting all the windows open and sounded like thunder on our heads. LOUD. We closed up the apartment and grabbed our clothes which were hanging outside. Just in time too, because it began to rain and thunder!! THEN! we found leaks in our ceiling. Lots. TONS!! Turns out, the wind tore off a section of the roof and mango's busted holes in the tile shingles. Our kitchen, bathroom, and main room were really wet. It even rained on one of the other Elders beds. Not mine though. So now we have had to go the long process to fix our house. Today, I hope we figure it out.
Fourth: I got a new bed! Finally, after weeks on a broken frame and old mattress, I have a new bunk-bed in my house and it is great. I love it. I sleep on the upper bed and that means that the AC blows right on my face. I love it. I am sleeping quite well.

Fifth: So Tadeu, the man that went to church last week all by himself, he is the man. We went to visit him this week and we found out his story. He grew up in the church and everybody knows him. He used to drink, smoke, and do all kinds of bad things. Well, because he wanted to be happy again he remembered the church in his life and BY HIMSELF, stopped drinking and smoking and all the other bad things. He told us this week "I am not coming back to church. I am already back, for good." All of his family went to church and they are all so cool. It was funny because his three sons, 12, 10, and 8 years old, all went in green shirts! I named them "Los Verditos". The "little greens" in Spanish, if my Spanish is correct. I love this family already.

I am having such a good time on the mission. All is well. I love my new shoes I bought. Comfortable. No complaints here!

eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week #74 - "I can show you the world!!!!" - Aladdin


So the Disney quote from this week has a purpose. The man who lives in front of my house decided to blast this song for the whole world to here this morning. Quite funny! American child film music is popular enough to be loved by all in the amazon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So this week was Independence day in Brazil, 7th of September and I live close to the city stadium. So that meant that at 5 pm on the 7th we saw 10 helicopters pass just feet above the rooftops of the houses. THEN............ an F-5 jet passed by. LOWER THAN LOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought I could throw a rock to hit him. He made two passes and I was just geeking out!! Just ask Elder Carvalho who was with me at the time. I had a very hard time bringing back the focus. Seriously, so stinken cool. If anyone who is reading this happens to own a jet, I humbling ask permission to, upon my return, take my thrills to mach levels!! PLEASE?

As you might have known we have also arrived at transfers once again and I have news. I will be staying in Ajuricaba with Elder Moreira (my current comp) and I am still the District Leader! I am excited because we have a lot of people to baptize! However, I know it is going to be a hard transfer. Let us push onward!!!! My district will now consist of 6 Elders (used to be 4), 1 American (me) and 5 Brazilians. So, that is how it goes for Elder Laws. I am just going to be Brazilian for awhile. We can talk more soccer then..... hahaha

Also, my zone have become addicted to a new P-day activity....... Pokemon!!!!!!! hahahaha I know right! They found a re-saler than buys them from other parts of Brazil, new, and sells them in Manaus. Pokemon was never really as big as it was in the states so all the Brazilians think it is pretty darn cool!!! It has yet to hit my district though because we are far away and have no real way to buy cards. But I really did not come to Brazil to play pokemon, did I and neither did the other Elders in my district.

OKAY to more important things. Sunday was absolutely the best day of the week. Neyderson blessed the sacrament. He was sooo happy. Seriously, his face was beaming in that white shirt!!! hahaha. A man named Tadeu came to church telling us how he was baptized roughly 14 years ago and that he was back to the church to stay, and how he has 4 kids and a wife; all of whom will be coming with him. He was so excited to be there and he really wants to get married soon!!! We also had a missionary return to the ward and give his homecoming talk. Man, that was weird listening to someone who just got down doing what you are doing. Really weird. He is a really cool guy and I hope he has the desire to help us out. WE NEED IT! We also had a baptism as well. Julio Cézar, who is the son of a family we are re-activating into the church. He is really funny, and we were at his house when the helicopters passed by! He freaked out too!

At his baptism, however, my camera broke. (Sad face). I am not happy about that, but life goes on. I am also not here to take photos. I am here to do the work of the Lord in the way he wants me to.

I am good.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week #73 - "When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do?"


First, we played baseball in our house this week; Americans vs Brazilians. It was quite funny. 2 bases, dust pan bat, and fruit snack ball!!! We won of course, 5 to 2 after 3 innings. It was quite ridiculous!

I went on a division this week to another area that I have never been to that is just WAYYYY out in the middle of no where!1 It is in the middle of the jungle on the other side of the airport and it was way cool. LUNCH WAS GREAT! There was a family there who had just an amazing house off in the jungle far away. It was quite there and much cooler. The food was to die for! The nature came right up beneath your feet and they told us how monkeys often swing by every day and how sloths steal papaya in the night from their trees. We heard the sounds of the rain-forest birds and I was freaking. It was really cool. Just really cool.

However I will be honest, this week was a really hard week for me. Not a lot happened, the work was slow and I was just feeling quite useless. We did almost nothing. We taught no one. It broke 105 degrees every single day and I was dying from the heat. Nothing seemed to go right. Then Sunday came around, no visitors came to church and I was feeling quite sorry for myself. "Where were the miracles", I thought? Well, I got one. Yago, the eight year old who I baptized just a few weeks ago got up in front of every one to bear his testimony of this gospel. He approached the microphone with ever so much courage and not expecting it, yelled into it, falling backwards and thus becoming very embarrassed. He sat down again shaken up but what he had done and almost everyone was laughing. HOWEVER, he would not be silenced. He returned to the microphone with courage and determination to state the following phrases which penetrated my sad heart.

"When I was baptized, I felt such a spirit of peace and happiness and I thank God for this. I know that this is his church and his path for me because I feel the truth. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I am so grateful that God sent His missionaries to teach me these things so that I could be baptized and be here with all of you. I know they are sent from God. In the name of Christ , Amen."

I cried after these words for they truly opened my heart. I had felt as thought my work had meant nothing, that I was an unprofitable servant who was a waste of a white shirt and tie. But Yago told me otherwise. God spoke to me through him. God humbled me with the words of a boy in a brand knew white shirt, which was too big for him.

Then as if that was not enough, Maria do Carmo bore her testimony. She is the wife of Neyderson, who was baptized the same day as Yago. She spoke through her tears of the endless prayers she had given to God asking that her husband could come with her to church, stop drinking, and become the father of the house. She bawled as she said she often had lost hope because missionaries would come and go and he would do nothing to change. Maria poured her heart out in thanks to God for two Elders that had reached his heart and brought full joy in her heart.

Oh how God had proved me wrong and brought me down into humility, showing me His mighty works through His Elders. I realized many things, some a little too private to state here, but I am forever grateful for I learned and felt. Never had such a feeling of peace come upon me at church as it did this Sunday, confirming to me the truths I now know and what I have yet to learn.

"Christ never gives us pain we cannot support."

Sorry my letter does not have a lot of cool stories but this was the only real landmark moment of the week to share.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, August 27, 2012

Week #72 - "I'm watching you, Wazowski. Always watching."


So........ MY PACKAGES ARRIVED IN RECORD TIME!!!!!! I thank you Mother and the Pahl family (grandparents)!!!

Two jars of peanut butter (one from mom and one from grandma) is just absolutely amazing and the Brazilians in our house were blown away to see the church peanut butter you sent grandma Val. They had no idea that the church makes food! They quickly asked to devour it but I held them at bay. hahahaha! My companion even told me that he would give up normal butter forever if peanut butter existed in Brazil!!!!!

Also, JAM!!!!!!!!! Watermelon jam is quite different, but also AWESOME! Thank you again grandma. Making a PB&J might be one of the most sublime mortal experiences. Don't believe me? MAKE ONE and you will remember.

BEEF JERKY!! Already gone; consumed by the lust of four starved of dried meat missionaries! You have no idea how fast the bag went down. Another order is being officially placed as of today for more. Highly recommended is our review. 5 fat stars.

POWDERED MILK!!!!!!!! Okay mother, I will be honest. I thought this would be a bad idea because all milk in Brazil is powdered. I apologize in advance to all Brazilians who may be reading but Brazilian milk does not cut it. I am not a fan. So, back to the US powdered milk. I was of this opinion: "Great, more nasty milk." Well let me tell you my friends, I will never ever ever again put down powdered milk from the states!!!!!!! IT WAS REVELATION FROM HEAVEN!! A cup of real, mildly creamy, flavorful milk was probably the most delicious thing that I have poured down my throat in the last 1 year and 4 months!! I loved it. Great idea mother!! (As a side note I had to use google translate to remember the word throat. Totally forgot.)

TIES! OH MY GOSH. Mother, those 2 new ties you sent are amazingly beautiful. I LOVE THEM!!! They look great and finally I do not look like an idiot with a giant colored piece of fabric on my neck. Now it is classy neck-wear for me. I also have "acquired" through other means a few other skinnier ties. Now we are rocking. Also, thanks to my brother for sending me four of his own ties from the CTM in Sao Paulo via a Sister Missionary who just reported here to the Manaus mission a couple of weeks ago. Very cool!

But you cannot really rock a good tie without a good shirt. SO THANK YOU FOR THE NEW SHIRTS! I refer to those already received from grandma and to the new long sleeve in this latest box. It fits PERFECTLY!!! I never have had a shirt fit so good in my life!!!! I was looking quite good this last week at our baptismal service. hahaha!!! Just kidding! But is very nice to not be drowning in my clothes.

SHOES! You need to know that I got my packages from the zone leaders who came to do a baptismal interview for us. So I had to wait for over an hour before I could open the boxes and reveal those soccer shoes!!! OH MY GOSH. It makes such a difference. I made 5 goals today. My team creamed. "They are magic shoes".

Mother I love the crazy colored pens you sent. Some of them match my ties so I try to match pen to tie every day. Good stuff that keeps you sane in the Brazilian heat!!!

So I also want to say thank you to those who have written me recently. Brynn, I got your letter. Response has already been written and will be sent soon. Reed, I got your letter from Europe!!! Way cool, and I hope you know the response from me will be big!!! WAY BIGGER THAN YOU THINK. I am getting pretty busy and sometimes I just lose track of who writes me, so sorry if you wrote and I did not return a letter, BE IT KNOWN that it was read, and loved, and I thank thee! My English is getting overly formal. I seriously think with thee and thou and ye in my head!!! It is because I really think in Portuguese and I use the formal conjugations, like tu! anyway, I am a big fan of grammar now and I am trying to get better at writing .

So we have just been seeing tons of miracles in my district on the mission now. God is a God of miracles. Our mission is full of miracles. We have seen much fruit. This week Thiago was baptized and it was a beautiful service. There were so many people there. Such a beautiful spirit. (Such a great long sleeve shirt too!!!) Really none of this success is ours though. We just happen to be here at the time the Lord had prepared such amazing people and the spirit does all the teaching. Man, a mission is good stuff.

Know this, that God lives and so does His Son. I know it. I. KNOW. IT. If you feel that maybe you are in need, or tired, or you are just peachy, my invitation is still for you. Pray and ask God in Christ's name, what can you do be make things even better.

I love my mission. I love my brother (serving in Cuiaba). I love my Savior.

- Ky, you have no idea how much it means to me that you will be serving a mission. I almost cried. Truly.

- Brody. Your words will touch souls. Your mission will come to be something worth more than all the treasures of this earth.

Eu vos amo.
Elder Asa Laws

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Week #71 - "You wanna know why I bought the car? TO DRIVE IT!" - Monsters Inc.


So, I have received the request for more detail in my letters on how it really is in being in Manaus on a day to day basis as a missionary. So this week, I would like to write a little bit more about the every day stuff.

This week I decided to buy a new flavor to try in milk. Here, it is really popular to use flavor packets for juice, a lot like kool-aid. However, milk here is just absolutely terrible and because of that they have a lot of things to throw into your milk. Nescau is a top favorite by many. Imagine if you will a chocolate looking powder which claims to be very healthy for you, but in reality you were deceived and it tastes nothing like chocolate milk (can't really describe the taste but it is not good). That is Nescau. There are many other chocolate powder competitors, all which fall short of the Hershey syrup and milk combo. Sad really. Anyways, I found a really cool orange mix that I like using in milk, but this week I decided to buy a shake strawberry mix, and IT IS GOOOOD! Yep, I wake up every morning, and after doing some stretchs I drink a big glass of powdered milk, flavored with strawberry oat shake stuff!!!

Oh, speaking of stretching, I get up every day to stretch and I have a goal to be able to touch the floor standing up! I have never been able to do it and today after palying soccer I found I am really close!! Just one more inch!
We had a wonderful change this week in our district!!!!! We now have 3 duplas (doubles) in my district now. I am still with Elder Moreira. Elder Sant is now with Elder Carlos, and Elder de Oliveira went to the new area in Campos Sales with Elder Cidade. Well, in my house now there is a new Elder and he is cool. Elder Carlos is from São Paulo and he is just crazy and hilarious. I already like the guy. He went home for knee problems but has returned to complete his mission and he is just itching to work and make up for the time lost. Elder Cidade is actually a mini-missionary that is from the other side of Manaus and he is a really cool guy as well, though I have yet to really get to know him. Basically, I am really happy for this change because we really need the help to be able to meet our goals.

So, in Brasil there are basically only two shows that people watch outside of novellas (soap operas) and soccer. They all watch "Chaves", which is an old Mexican show that has been dubbed over in Portuguese and it is from the 80s. EVERYBODY loves it. The other I think is quite interesting. "Everybody Hates Chris" is HUGE!!! Everybody here watches it and thinks it is the best show ever, when it really did not have that much success in the states. I am not kidding, almost every lunch the members start cracking up about something they had watched on "KRIS" last night. I have seen bits and pieces and it really is a lot funnier in Portuguese. SO, whatevs.

One morning, as I was studying, I heard a loud noise, and two Elders running around outside of my bedroom. They were freaking out over something but I did not know what. I went out only to find that a lizard had found itself trapped in the hands of Elder Sant!! He found it in the washing machine! Well, we took some pictures and then they thought it would be funny to chase me around the house with said lizard because I was eating and did not want to touch it. They cornered me and then filmed as they started there close-in. Well, as they got close the lizard JUMPED at me and I freaked out running out of the room! I later brought myself back together and took a photo with the little guy. Scary evil lizard!!!!

I bought a new detergent this week which was a big step for me. Maybe you do not know, but I am allergic to a few brands of detergent and I did not know which ones in Brazil I could use. So, since the beginning of my mission I HAVE BEEN USING THE SAME CRAPPY powder detergent that everyone calls the best and it is really expensive. Well this week I found a liquid detergent that was cheap and I decided to test drive it. WOW. Way better. I am sold on the liquid thing for the rest of my life!! Also, it is green.

This week we had a fantastic activity at the church: BOLO NIGHT!!!!! CAKE NIGHT!!!! So, I feel really good because I started something that has really caught on in this ward; these NIGHT activities that we have been doing! I really like them. This last week we did a cake competition to see who made the best cake and I was really excited. We had tons of people show up, including 6 investigators and 5 cakes!!! Yago, who is an 9 year old kid we have been teaching, was so excited that he made his own cake AND IT WAS GOOD!! It was tapioca cake that just knocked my socks off. Really, this kid is so smart for just 9 years old. Well the activity went very well and in the end we played a really cool game where you pass the number and..... well I cannot really explain it but it was cool because YAGO WON!!!! He ended up, after 40 people started, being in the final three! So I was super excited for him and he left super happy!! I have some great photos of the party!!!

Saturday we held another baptismal service and 2 people were baptized!!!! Yago and Widson. I was very pleased, though I really do not like how cold baptism water always is here!! I hate cold water. I cannot wait for endless hot showers stateside!!! We went to the church early and helped clean up the chapel because the cake activity really left a mess and then TONS of people came to baptism!!! I just love it when that happens.

Well, I think I will end this letter with the fact that we played a bit of soccer today and I am getting better. Finally someone taught me how to chute the ball to make goals! I know that sounds like it is something so easy but it is not. There is technique required!!! haha I am good at blocking and defense and passing and all the other stuff, but shooting and juking I stink!!! Well, now I am better. Though, in the process I tore my toe shoes in another spot and I am pretty much in dire need for my new shoes to get here!!!

Life is good. I want everyone to know that this is the real deal. I am not just writing the good and leaving out the bad. I actually do just have great days everyday. I love my mission.

eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week #70 - " ICE of you to drop by!" " HA, like I have never heard that one before."


I CAN SOLVE A RUBIK'S CUBE!!!!!! Yes, that is right, I can now call myself smart because I can solve one!!!! It took forever and after learning a few basic things I can clock myself at 2:30 seconds!!!! BOOM!! Life goal complete!

This week was pretty amazing week for me and I am just really happy with things to be honest. I love my mission and I do not think there is an Elder who likes his mission more than me! I am learning a ton and becoming more like the man I want to be. That is, I am becoming, very slowing, and with much repentance, more like Christ. And really in the end, that is the goal right? Through His sacrifice, we may become like Him, so that we may enter into His presence. So, I love my mission just that much more because I have the privilege to dedicate 100 percent of my time to this cause. Is there a greater cause?

This week we had ANOTHER zone conference. Now it feels a bit ridiculous. Two zone conference in 3 weeks!!! But hey I love these sorts of things so I was happy. I learned A TON! Wow, I learned a ton and I learned how to apply what I learn to become. Yes, you might be seeing that word a lot; BECOME. That is on purpose because I have a lot to become. All of us do. As children of God, is it not our nature to "become even as [He] is?" Well, I am a long way off, and I just hope that we all can come closer to the mark through His grace. At the zone conference I realized how much better we have to be. They did a few exercises and showed us how much more we really can do. So, that is what we want to do!

This week, we also got an AIR CONDITIONER!!!!! I am sleeping great! It was actually kind of a mix up because the AC was not actually for us, but it was, and well, it was complicated. Regardless, it is in my house, chilling the place for UNO games, and rubik's fun. 

I have also been on the hunt to get a new fridge for our house because ours is really small and old. Well the ward here bought a new fridge and I was after the old one, only to find that it was going to a different ward which had no fridge. SAD FACE. Then on Sunday I talked with the bishop, who talked with the stake, and they decided, to give us the fridge!!!!! I know, right! New microwave, then AC, and now a bigger fridge! Well I called the staff office of the mission to confirm that we could take it and Elder Shephard said that he had a better idea. He has a family in his ward in great need. They have no fridge at all. He was going to ask the president about buying a fridge for them but then we decided that the family needs the fridge more than us. So now we have to find a way to get a big fridge to move 10 miles down the road to the families house..... cool story right? The Lord has a purpose in all things.

We have started playing UNO in the house, and it is crazy. Monday is UNO day now and I was crushed about 30 minutes ago. Oh man did I take a beating. OUCH. But it is cool, I will win soon enough.

I want everyone to know that I believe in miracles. They are real. Not miracles of just, "hey I won a free coke from a cap". No, I am talking about true, real miracles. I am talking about miracles that change lives, move mountains of doubt, and re-shape families. I saw a girl this week who truly became converted, baptized. Her father is a pastor of a moderately ANTI-MORMON church and he would not have it. So, in her faith, she sat down with him and bore her soul. She told him of her desire in her heart and read to him from the Book of Mormon. Angels descended and touched the man in a way he probably had not expected. He felt the truth in her faith and decided to let her be baptized and he even went to the baptism. All this happened at about 8 pm, Manaus time. That is when I got the call that she was to be interviewed and baptized THAT NIGHT. I needed to interview her and fill the baptismal font. The font was well known in that it normally takes 3 hours to fill it. God filled it in 30 minutes. 20 people came from there houses in the night to watch a miracle. She went down into the water and was baptized by the authority of God Himself and Karoline became a miracle in my eyes. 

I saw a man this week, Neyderson, who was baptized, become transformed. He used to wear his hair in a Mohawk and had earrings. Now he holds himself as a man who is looking to be a better father. He told us how his friends told him how he has changed and they want to know what happened. He told us how he feels different and lifted. He feels the desire to become something better. He wore a white shirt and tie to church yesterday. He received the Holy Ghost. He smiled all the day. He always is smiling now. He is a miracle in my eyes.

I see miracles everyday. Do you? Look for them!

I also watched 17 MIRACLES. PLEASE WATCH IT. 

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Week #69 - "Well I brought my dinosaur, who eats force-field dogs!!"


Wow, what an absolutely packed week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have a lot to tell you about.

FIRST!!! We had 2 baptisms this week!! That is right, 2 people found out for themselves and desired to be baptized!!! It was my pleasure to be able to help them find the path and I will never forget Antonio and Neyderson. Really it was very special for me because we have been working so hard and now we are seeing the fruits!!! This transfer we have really high hopes!!

Antonio, the 12 year old who was baptized is a really cool kid. His story is really sad because he family is broken and his mother drinks and really does nothing for hi, and that is why he started going with his friends to church activities!! Well, we met with him everyday this week to help him and it was really fun! We always meet at the bishops house to teach him and there happens to be a rope swing! YES, I totally have pictures of me playing with 12 year old Brazilians on a rope swing. It is a ton of fun especially when you have really hard weeks! Seriously though, Antonio, I really like this kid. He pays a ton of attention and really just wants to be a better person and not do what the people around him are doing. He looks up to me like a father figure and told me that I cannot leave Ajuricaba, but rather I have to stay to help him. OH man, tear jerker!!!!!!!!

Side note - I got a foto of my pajamas. I realized how ridiculous I look because I where blues scrubs and a red and white striped shirt!!! YES, I look exactly like the American flag. Good stuff.

Also! WE WENT TO THE TEMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For the first time on my mission in Manaus I finally got to go to the temple after its dedication!!! I waited over a month!!!!!!!! But it was totally worth it. THERE is the house of the Lord and I truly left full of the spirit. It was actually quite special because I also got to talk with the President there and he gave me some pretty amazing advice and taught me some things I had never known! I took tons of photos for everyone! I got some funny ones as well!

While at the temple I met with Elder Acosta who is responsible for all the housing in the mission and I told him that we needed help. He said that he would come by the next day in the morning. Well he did, at 7:30 in the morning, right as I was ironing my shirt and my companion had just gotten out of the shower! The weird part is he just came in with out knocking. So literally I turned around to find him just standing in the doorway and it half killed me!!! He took note of ALL of the things we need including a new bed for me!! We already had someone come by to fix up our washing machine and I found out from a little birdy that we will be getting AIR CONDITIONING this week!!!!!!!!! Yes, that is the reward of keeping a clean house. Now I will not die every night in front of my frankenstein fan!

That reminds me, REED PERKINS, I got your letter and I will be writing a HUGE letter in response to our discussion!

Out of nowhere I suddenly got a lot of letters so I have just this week to respond but rest assured I will respond! If you are waiting just wait a bit more, it will come. If you have been waiting for me to respond for more than 2 months, its probably because I lost your letter, so you should write again. I do not have everyone addresses memorized, I take them off of the envelope. Man, I am just loving my mission. Really, there is just no better place. I highly recommend all young men to prepare to serve.

Eu vos amo
Elder Asa Laws