Mission Slideshow

Monday, February 27, 2012

Week #46 "Anybody want a Peanut?"


Yes, I know that my weekly quote is not a Disney movie, but I have decided to use it in honor of a funny experience this week. So my companion was acting really weird one day and he decided to run up to a wall, place his ear on said wall, and give me a funny look. Then, quite quickly he said " Amendoim!" which means "Peanut". I of course died laughing and quickly remembered The Princess Bride and Pirates of Caribbean. So, I taught him the quote, though he has no clue really how funny it is because he has never seen the movie.

Our week was extremely different. For the first time EVER on my mission, I had a no-work day. Yes, I stayed in my house all day doing nothing but reading, cleaning, and day-dreaming of baseball gloves, burgerville cheeseburgers, and Men's Choir Championships.

But wait, Elder Laws, you are a mildly good missionary, why would you do such a thing? I cannot even imagine you wasting the precious time you have in Brazil.

Woah, calm down there imaginary comment man. Let me explain myself.

For the first time on my mission, I stayed in the house because my companion was SICK. Yes. SICK in all CAPS. He had a fever of 102 degrees and was stuffed in his nose to the rafters. That meant he was required to rest and relax. Sleep and dream. I was required to preside, provide, and protect the lad. So what did I do? ( Sorry imaginary comment man, I stole your question.) I read scriptures. I read "Jesus the Christ". I read candy labels. I read my letters again. I listened to conference talks. I listened to rain. I listened to more rain. I listened to my phone when I called Elder Earl about his new companion. I listened to Elder Earl when the phone connected as well. I listened to rain while reading. ("People used to stare at each other all day. It was very boring." - disney quote) The day passed slowly. Anyways I realized that I like working here A LOT. I cannot stand not doing anything. Sure, when I am dead tired, I will accept a break, but doing nothing for the sake of nothing.... AHHHH!!! Anyways, I was very blessed that my companion was right as rain the next day and the work continued.

Side note: The blade lock on my Leatherman broke. Very Sad. Needless to say, my work on my baseball bat has been postponed until... well until forever collides into infinity and that somehow gives me a new Leatherman. But I still feel good in the fact that I can send it in to Leatherman and they will fix it for me!

SOOO, Yesterday I was helping an old man across the street. Actually, You might remember him from a few letters ago. Fozzie was trying to cross the street, but it was very busy. So he asked the nice missionaries to help. We complied and happily began to take him across. While Elder Costa was holding Fozzie, Elder Laws (me) noticed a big bus coming their way. I knew it would not notice the old man. So I decided to stand in front of the bus to tell it to stop. But the big, mean bus decided it did not want to stop. So, at the last second I jumped out of the way of the big bus, which then slammed on its brakes to avoid hitting Elder Costa and Fozzie. Luckily, no one was hurt. Elder Costa and I felt good for our service, though we were almost ran down by a bus. ( If you felt like this paragraph was written for a 4th grade level, you were right! GOLD STAR FOR YOU!)

Another side note: My companion likes to joke around and he's always telling me that I am going bald. "You're not Tom Cruise. You're Henry B. Eyering." - Elder Costa commenting on Elder Laws' wonderful mane. I am NOT going bald!

One of our investigators had a dream about the missionaries teaching her! Her name is Nilza. She commented to us that one of the Elders was Elder Costa but that I was not the other missionary. She said she saw a "Tall, whitish guy who was really skinny and sounded like he was from São Paulo." Now, for you to understand how cool that was for us to here I have to tell you another story. Elder Earl, the American from my district, is now training a new missionary. That makes us the only district in the whole mission where ALL companionship's are training. HUGE responsibility. Anyways, his new companion is Elder Machado. He is a "Tall, whitish guy who is really skinny and sounds like he is from São Paulo." CRAZY RIGHT? My investigator had a dream about a missionary who just got here and is not even the Elder who is teaching her right now?! I thought that was really weird and Awesome. May be a miracle!

We had a very successful week this week and I am so grateful for every moment. I am also so grateful that I will be here for the dedication of the Manaus Temple. The dates were released to the public this week. The temple will be dedicated on the 10th of June. I am SO EXCITED! This will be a truly unique and special experience for me, in that not every missionary gets to go to the temple on his mission, nor does he get to go to a temple dedication.

That's my week. I hope you enjoyed.
Eu vos amo.
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week #45 - "Attention all personnel. Due to circumstances beyond our control, lunch will be served today." - MASH


So, I had been feeling pretty bad about how short my last two letters have been. So I decided to be more diligent and write EVERYTHING down so that I could share the week. I did so, only to find that I forgot to bring my notebook to the internet cafe and now I have to wing it off of memory. Let's Go!!!!

We started this week off with two interviews and two more baptisms! Moisés and Augusto. Both have great stories.

Moisés has been a heavy drinker for most of his life. He had destroyed his family and his wife had LITERALLY took half the house with her (walls and all.) He came up to us about three weeks ago and told us how he had nothing. So we set a date, made a plan, and this week we finished that plan. Three weeks without beer, with daily prayers, with daily scripture reading, with the help of angels. Moisés changed his life. His kids moved back in one by one. Now his wife wants to come back because he has become a new man. It is amazing! It was just as fantastic for me when he asked that I baptize him. I felt honored.

Augusto is a teenager who has been coming to church for a few weeks. He is the man and he even started participating in all the activities at church! Anyways, his whole family are members of another church. His mom said he could be baptized, but also said that the family was against it. He decided to be baptized anyways because he knew it was the right thing to do and he had Cleilton, his best friend from church, baptize him. I was so happy!!

We also had Zone Conference this week. Yes, another week where I got to meet the president again. It was such a spiritual meeting and I learned a ton. I really felt great. But the real story is how we started the zone conference. Wednesday, the zone leaders called me and asked if I could buy 50 donuts........ for breakfast at the conference. I said yes and then ordered the donuts. TO MY SURPRISE, they actually filled the order and I arrived to the conference with three pizza sized platters of donuts. Yes, that was probably the first time in Manaus history that so many donuts were consumed in such a short period of time.

Anyways, the rest of the conference was great. After I went on a quick division with the zone leaders. Elder Gaertner went with my companion to our area to do our interviews (yes, we had more than two baptisms this week. Details coming). I went with Elder Squire to another area and he interviewed a really cool young man there. I did not get home that night until 11! That next Saturday I was very tired.

Random thought: So I found a big stick here. It will no longer remain a stick. I decided that I am going to make myself a baseball bat. The progress is good. Slow, because I have no time, but good.

THANK YOU MARYAM AURICH FOR YOUR LETTER. I responded and you should get it soon.

Anyways, on Saturday we were also very pleased to have two more baptisms. Sarah and Gabriel. They are brother and sister. Both have been coming to church for weeks and now they are members of the church they know to be true. In total for this last transfer, 6 weeks, my district was able to meet our goal of 13 baptisms!!!!

Side note: So my companion has been making an album of the ugliest dogs in Manaus. Seriously, these are some ugly dogs here. Not the normal cute breeds. He has taken pictures of about 10 dogs now that are hairless, friendless, toothless, and just plain ugly. We are still looking for the king of the ugly dogs though. We saw one at the bottom of our area that was UGLY! Really, I feel bad for the dog. No one could love that dog. So UGLY. Okay, I'm sure Heavenly Father loves that dog.

Yesterday I realized that in two weeks I will be 20. WOW. 2.0. That sounds so old to me. 18, I was still a kid. 19, I was just in the middle. But soon it will be official that I am not a kid and my love for Disney movies will officially be weird. Crap. I am excited, but also really freaked out.

SOOOOO, this week will be transfers! I will stay here in Jorge Teixeira with Elder Costa to finish his training. I am so happy because he is the MAN! However, Elder Reis from my district will be leaving and Elder Earl, my American buddy, will TRAIN an new Brazilian. I am way excited for this next transfer!

So I know that this letter is not that long but I want you all to know that this week was fantastic. My mission is just cruising by and I feel like it will be over tomorrow. That scares me. I love my mission so much. Every day I just know more that this is the true and living church of God here on the earth. I have this time to read and study the holy scriptures and every day I learn more. I invite everyone once again to read. Read the Bible. Read the Book of Mormon. Pray. It does good things.

Elder Asa Laws

Monday, February 13, 2012

Week #44 - "23-19! We have a 23-19!!!"


THAT IS HOW ITS DONE!!! Okay so me and my companion, for the second week in a row, crushed it! We really had a great time and worked our tails off!! Seriously, our District has 9 potential baptisms this week, so pray for us!

On to the good stuff. This week I have been at war. NO, not a war with guns or words. NO not a war or the worlds and I am not even talking about the war against Satan. I was, and am, at war with cockroaches. Yes, those evil, cunning roaches that seem to find any weakness in your defense. Last week after I finished emailing with you guys, I came home and went in to use the bathroom. To my horror I saw a roach scuddling around in the bath. So acting quickly, I found a flip flop and CRUSHED the little devil. All was well until my eyes were drawn to yet ANOTHER roach on the wall. I quickly then realized that roughly 8 roaches had found refuge in our bathroom. I was defenseless in my current state in the bathroom... I found myself surrounded by the enemy. Rapidly I finished my business and the fight began! Roach by roach, they all felt the fury of my flip-flops!!!

I later asked our neighbor why the sudden surge in roach activity, to which I received the reply that roaches do not like rain... ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I LIVE IN THE AMAZON RAIN-FOREST! The following night I returned home to the same scene; a bathroom war zone! The infestation was soon eradicated and I then purchased barrier forming anti-roach RAID. My choice in weaponry has now all but destroyed the enemy. Every night I now have the job of picking up 3 to 4 roaches that felt brave enough to enter through the vent in our bathroom. MY HOUSE REMAINS ROACH FREE.

On Sunday me and my companion pulled out all the stops. We pushed it to the limit ( like USHER) and we taught 11 lessons in one day!! We were all over the place. We taught, we walked, and even laughed a bit. Our District had 24 investigators at church!! It was amazing! We all are more committed and more obedient, and we are seeing the blessings. I am so grateful for all these things I have been learning out here.

So I had another training meeting with the president this week and it was incredible. I always feel so uplifted when I speak with him. Truly, he is a man with great vision and is lead by the spirit in all that he does. He gives me such a great example.

Side note: We saw a dead guy on the street who was shot by drug traffickers. There were tons of people surrounding him. It was like a rock concert. People had phones out taking pics and the cops were there. He as shot five times!!! Lots of people knew the guy. Pretty weird experience.

Sorry again that my letter is so small, but I am really just so busy. We work, and I love it. The week fly's on by! I really think at this rate I will be home next week!

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week #43 - "Well, the fact is we planted the wrong roses. And..... THE QUEEN SHE LIKES THE RED!"


Well hello everyone. I hope you are all having a fine day today. I would like to start off this letter saying that the Superbowl was broadcast here in Brazil and many members watched the game. As a Patriots fan, I was quite disappointed with the outcome and I hope that next year will FINALLY be Brady's fourth ring.

So This week was a very active week and in all the hustle I forgot to write down a lot of the cool details. So this letter will probably be a bit short.

I started off this week with a fantastic division with my Zone Leader, Elder Gaertner. He is from Utah but is Brazilian by blood. He has been out the same time on the mission as me and the guy is SOOOO spiritual. We had an absolutely fantastic division with tons of spiritual moments. Most of the time was spent with him telling me about the things that he has learned in his meetings with our mission president. I was really edified from the time I spent with him and I have a new desire to be the best I can be.

My companion likes to say the following: "Keeping the rules isn´t that hard. Keeping the rules knowing that almost no one else does, is hard." We have really been trying to keep all the mission rules and just be super diligent and it really has payed off. The work goes super fast and we almost do not even realize how much we accomplish. Often we come back to the house, disappointed that we did not teach everyone we wanted, only to find we actually taught 7 or 8 lessons that day. Sometimes it is pretty hard though. Sunday we got up early so we could go to our investigators' homes and pick up about 10 people to take to church. YET, NO ONE came with us. They all turned us down, saying that they couldn't go for some reason or other, or they were still sleeping. It was a bit heartbreaking but in the end 7 people still came to church without our help. So my lesson here is just do it and the Lord will provide.

Anyways, while on the division I bought a dozen donuts to show my zone leader! THEN, I ate all but the three he had in his hand. THEN, we ordered a pizza that night that was crazy expensive and the guy finally delivered to us COLD at 11pm.

I did a division later in the week with Elder Reis from my district. He is a great guy and we basically talked about all the same things that the Zone Leaders told me. It was cool to see how much it blew his mind as well as it fortified him to be a better missionary as well. While I was with him I was able to have another fantastic baptismal interview with a lady named Rosangela. She is a very special person who just feels so grateful that she can know the truth. LAST WEEK her husband died from an illness and she was really traumatized. She was so strong and took much comfort in the trust she has in Christ. She even asked what her husband could be doing right now in heaven. I told her he was learning and accepting the message that she was going to accept through baptism. It was a wonderful experience.

Let me take a moment to talk about how cool my district is. We have no bad eggs here. We have almost no problems. We all work and we apply what we are learning. Seriously, I have a such a fantastic district and it is great for me because the President of the mission sees that we are doing so well and then tells me I am doing a great job! Yes, a district leader does a ton of work, but really I love it and I am so grateful for my district and the opportunity to serve them.

On Sunday I met a guy who is from Peru and as he began to talk to me I asked him to talk to me just in Spanish to test my Spanish skills. TO MY DELIGHT I found that I understood him perfectly! I was so thrilled because I can hear and read Spanish! I cannot write nor speak but I can LISTEN and UNDERSTAND Spanish. It was very cool for me.

Anyways, I really do not have a lot more from last week. It was fantastic and I hope to work A TON more this week.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws