Mission Slideshow

Monday, March 26, 2012

Week #50 - "Radar, what am I signing?"


Now, I know that many films, songs, and stories have been told about the most beautiful women, cars, and countries. I know that many believe that true beauty is within and that things superficial don't really matter in this world. I just have a few words and one letter to discuss the MOST BEAUTIFUL THING EVER. What is it?


Yes. Thank you. I know I just made the worlds greatest argument. It's true! After nearly a year without fluffy, syrup soaked, drenched in love pancakes, I literally was on the edge of crying after the first bite. I invite all men around the world who have the opportunity to enjoy a pancake at will, to do so. GO EAT PANCAKES. They are the best!

NO seriously, I do not think you get it. Those fantastic fried friends of mine are probably the best thing that I have ever received in a package ( that is edible at least. We will address the true best thing ever from a box in a minute.) If you have ever considered sending Elder Asa Spades (Richard actually) Laws a package, know this: Walmart sells just-add-water packets of buttermilk pancake batter.

Now, to address the rest of the amazing goodness that arrived in my package. THANK YOU FOR THE BASEBALL GLOVES AND BALL!!!!! They are truly the best present that I have ever received in my life for my birthday. Never has a 20 year old dude fell in love so fast for 2 pieces of cow-hide and a ball made of string. I have already taught my companion how to play catch, though he is left handed, and my gloves are for us normal right-handed people. Hehe! So that has been tough for him. BUT, nonetheless, we play. Today specifically, I was able to go to the church and play with Elder Earl. Man, my throw is weak as heck, but it felt so good to stretch out the arm and really play the greatest sport that ever existed! Don't get me wrong, I love soccer. I actually scored a goal today against all the Brazilians. But baseball is just.... yeah. I love it.

All the goodies you sent, Mom, were fantastic. As a side note: Dad, I know that you always told me how bad my typing technique is and that I only used a few fingers. Well, I want you to know that for a few weeks now, I have been practicing here every P-Day and I am really trying to learn to become a better typer. I do not even have to look at the keyboard any more. que bom! Man, it's hard to type on this keyboard without looking. So you know, keyboards in Portuguese are slightly different because of the accents in the language. thus, some of the letters and symbols are in weird places for me. PRACTICE.

There is an investigator here we have been working with for a while now. So has been going to church for 3 years but has yet to get married, so she cannot be baptised. Anyways, her name is Cleia. She loves me and my companion to death. She basically considers us her children and always wants to feed us ( yes, mother, I am still holding weight and she feeds us really really well.) Anyways, she has decided that my accent is no longer an American accent, and has decided that I am no longer American. Rather, she says I have a PORTUGUESE (from Portugal) accent and she calls me Elder Portuga. Feel proud Dad, though no one really agrees with her and I still have a lot to learn in the language.

As for an update on the language learning, I am getting really good at understanding subjunctives. For those of you who has no idea what this is, like me, its conjugations of the verbs in certain forms that actually do not exist in English, so its really hard. There is no real way to translate them. Basically, they are hypothetical forms, or rather, forms of verbs for when the situation or action is not actually real, but a thought, a maybe, or a wish. It is freaking difficult for me but I have gotten the hang of it.

So this is the beginning of the last week of this transfer. I am really excited to see what happens; whether I stay or go, or maybe even my companion might leave. We will see on Sunday!

We are working really hard and trying are best to give it all. Truly, this mission is THE BEST experience of my life to date (but yes, I plan for a marriage of awesomeness that will beat out my mission for the best experience spot in my life.) Eu amo este povo aqui, e todos os dias eu realizo mais e mais que este Evangelho é a verdade.

Eu vos amo.
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, March 19, 2012

Week #49 - "But You've already read it twice!"


Guess what movie my quote is from!

What a good week. I have some good stories for everyone!

So, first of all my district is a miracle district. We have been baptizing A TON! I am so grateful for this. Elder Earl and Elder Machado, the other dupla in my district, had NO ONE this week who was prepared to be baptized. They have tons of people to teach but for the first week during this transfer, they were not going to have a baptism. Well about wednesday Elder Earl tells Elder Machado that he is going to have his first week on his mission without a baptism, to which Elder Machado replied, "I don't know Elder Earl, I think God could still provide for us."

Well, THAT day they got a call from a member in the ward, Alessandra. The week before, Elder Machado had given Alessandra's sister a Book of Mormon and told her to read. Turns out, she had been reading, knew it was true, and wanted to get baptized that week! So they taught and prayed with her and taught her again on thursday, then called me at about 5 pm and asked if I could do an interveiw for them that day! Luckily at 5 pm I was already at the church so I said "sure, but can we do it NOW?" the Elder was a littled startled but in the end we had the interview. It was fantastic and the spirit was truly there with us. Despite the speed of her conversion, I felt she was truly ready to be baptized and on saturday at 6 pm, she was. Elder Machados faith provided a way and because of that, Elder Earl has baptized 20 people in one area of his mission, in 21 weeks. What a miracle!

My companion is also a man of miracles. This week I have really been pondering the importance of EXACT, 100% obedience. I have just felt that the Lord truly expects that of me right now on my mission and I have been making bigs steps to achieve such. HOWEVER, I had been feeling some coutner-pull from my companion all week and it was just bothering me. He, in his words told me "We are practically doing everything." I wanted him to understand that PRACTICALLY is not EXACTLY. So eventually we had a long talk about it and it really hit him hard. THEN, that same day (friday), as we were preparing for the day ahead of us, he realized he had lost his english study book. I was lying in my hammock in my white shirt, tie, and all, studying in Revelations and not paying much attention to him. He just kept pacing around. Then he left the room of a few minutes and re-entered in white shirt and tie (normally he wears regular clothes in the house.) Then he turned off the music he had playing (he was listening to some samba which is typical Brazilian music) Right after that he found his lost notebook. Keep in mind, I did not notice any of this unitl he recounted the story to me. What had occured was this. He had HEARD in his mind; "Stop searching and put on your shirt." "Turn off the music." "Good, now go look underneath your backpack." He was freaked out because he had never HEARD the spirit speak to him before. I pondered on this experience for a few minutes and left him to think as well. Then I asked him "What was the spirit trying to tell you. What are you going to do?" He replied that he realized he could not receive help or hear the spirit if he was not prepared to do so and he decided right there to get rid of ALL that music he had and to become more diligent. I just pray that this lesson we learned sticks with both of us through the rest of our missions.

So in this process to become better, I have decided to exercise EVERY DAY!!! Yes, I have made a promise to get up and exercise every morning. Well, this week I have been successful and I FEEL GREAT!!!!

We had a zone training with the President. It was a lot about doctrine and also about VIRTUE. Really, he just wanted us to ponder whether we consider ourselves virtuous in all our thoughts and actions. Something we should all think about.

We had a guy stop us on the street this week. He stopped us and asked us to wait for a second because he was going to grab his book and we were going to preach from it to him. (We were not sure what book he was talking about.) He ran inside and then after a few minutes came back out with a BOOK OF MORMON. We were shocked. He said he read the book every night. But he also said, "Hey, look. I will never go to church or stop drinking, but you guys can always come by." So I guess he can be our new project. haha.

So last week I told you all abouy Nilza and her baptism. This week we baptised Eliana, Nilzas sister. She has been reading and she loves going to church. Infact she was supposed to be baptized last week but she had a pastor teach her last week, who told her that we were the church of the devil. That we were lairs. So she was scared. But we talked to her again and she prayed and realized she KNEW that this church is the church of God. She asked my companion to baptize her which was his FIRST TIME baptizing anyone in his life. It was wonderful to see him all dressed in my white clothes. haha. It was such a golden moment for me.

I have such a firm testimony in this gospel. I have just come to believe more and more, little by little every day. BUT, I do not just know, I FEEL it. I UNDERSTAND it. I LIVE it. This mission has literally changed EVERYTHING about how I see the world. I feel like a new person. I feel a joy that NOTHING ever gave me before. Not even music makes me feel the way that this work, these truths, this love makes me feel. I have traveled to many places in the world. I have seen many amazing things. I have won many awards and have had the pleasure to be apart of championships. But none of that makes me feel so happy and so much joy like the Gospel of Christ has given me. I invite all to read the Book of Mormon and ask God, the Eternal Father, if it's true. I invite all to re-dedicate to a more diligent study of the Bible. I love the Lord. In him my soul delights.

Eu vos amo.
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, March 12, 2012

Week #48

Movie Quote:
Radar: OK, sir, you sign this top form, then initial all the rest.
Henry: Initial, Radar?
Radar: Oh, yes, sir. Your initial signifies that instead of signing, you initialed. Then you have to sign this form, which states that you merely initialed the forms that required signing. Then after you've signed you put your initial where you signed so that people will know that you OK'd your signature with your initial.
Henry: Radar, tell me the truth. Do you understand any of this?
Radar: Uh, I try not to, sir. It slows up the work.


SO this week was HUGE! Put aside my birthday stuff and still, this week was jam packed! Let's get started! So, MY BIRTHDAY! It started at about 7:30 am, when a member, Marcos came to knock on my door while we were studying.

"Hey man!" he said, in English mind you. Yes, he speaks really well because he learned on his mission.

Me: "Hey, why are you at my door right now?"

Marcos: "Come over. NOW."

Me: "Okay, but can I know why?"

Marcos: "No. Just come over."

Me: "Can I shave?"

Marcos: "No man. I am hungry and I made brownies. So come over and eat with me!"

YES, You heard right. HE MADE BROWNIES AND EGGS AND BACON AND HE TURNED ON FINDING NEMO IN ENGLISH IN THE BACKGROUND FOR US!! I truly cannot explain how awesome my birthday started off. I loved it!!!

THEN, I went to my meeting with the President. On the way there, me and Elder Earl were pretty early, but we decided to leave the bus stop anyways and try to make it to the staff office before the incoming rain. We did not make it! I was soaked! Head to toe dripping wet. My shoes were full of water. But still, I was happy. It was my 20th birthday!! We then had our meeting in which the President some how was able to point out EVERY flaw that I have. Even every little rule I do not follow. But seriously I just realized how much better I needed to be. SOOOO... I went home and started to fix every single one of them. YEP! We did it and my week was great.

However, my package has not come yet. I will probably get it this Friday when I have another meeting with the President. Yes, we have another training this week. I am always seeing the President. HECK, yesterday he was at church in our stake conference!

Sidenote: I am 65 kilos. (145lbs) BOOM BABY!

We had a great week which included another baptism. Her name is Nilza and she is very special. Here is her story. We met her about 3 weeks ago and taught her about the Restoration of the church and about The Book of Mormon. We left her a copy and decided to go back a few days later. When we returned we were stunned to find that she had been reading, every minute of every day she that was free. At work, on the bus and at night. She even said that she had fallen asleep once and woke up at 3am to find the book on her chest. So we have been teaching her a lot. She went to church last week and this week she was baptized. It was so special. Yesterday at church our mission president came up to her and even spoke to her about a ton of stuff. I love helping people.

This week we also had a very interesting lesson. Let me explain. We as missionaries, try to avoid the "BIBLE BASH". This is a term that we use to explain what happens when really devote readers try to prove us wrong through rapid scripture quoting. Often, many dumb missionaries do not notice the bible bash as it begins and so they enter into the trap of getting angry and fighting. In the end, the missionary always loses and limps away with his pride in hand, realizing how little he actually has readLeviticus and Numbers. Well, we were caught in a bible bash this week, EXCEPT we "won". We are teaching a wonderful couple; Elias and Sandra. Elias was amember years ago but left the church. Sandra is not a member (yet). When we arrived at the house we had a plan to teach more about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. BUT, Sandra just started off in telling us how she read and believed in the book (YES!) So we just bore our testimonies and thought it was going to be a quick visit.

WE WERE WRONG... Elias then grabbed his bible and began to read off verses to try to test me to see if I really new the bible. I THANK GOD that he sends the spirit to help us because I truly felt the Holy Ghost help me answer everything he asked. However, when I opened the Book of Mormon to explain more, he freaked on me and yelled at me! "Why always that book! I don't get it. Seriously, you guys have me convinced. I love you guys, but I just can't believe in that book! USE THE BIBLE!" Well, that is when my companion stepped in and basically fought with this dude. They were almost yelling. YET.... it was okay. I was not freaking out. I felt the spirit. I KNEW my companion was doing what he needed to to set this guy straight so he would understand. Eventually Elias realized that we believe in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. He saw that we studied them both. When we were done it finally made sense to him that we have need for more scripture. Things calmed down and he actually thanked us. BUT WAIT, we aren't at the end... Elias began to ask more questions and we got going again. BUT STILL, the spirit was there. In the end, we returned to peace and he said something I wont soon forget. "Thank you for coming by. Seriously, I just have to know and I can't leave any doubt. Everyone just wants to tell me how it is. You guys, I can tell you care. Please, never stop coming by." We ended the same way we always do. If you really want to know ask God in faith. So, we "won" our bible bash. But really, it was not us at all. I would have to give credit to the Spirit of God for that one (technically, it really is the spirit that wins all of them.)

On Friday, We had a random division with our zone leaders again to do our baptism interviews. It was great except, my companion and the other zone leader grabbed the wrong bus when we went to trade back. So that night we did not get home until past mid-night. I almost died of exhaustion!!!

On Saturday, we had a weird phone call. A member called us and asked my companion and I to perform the music at her wedding THAT NIGHT. She needed something to sing and play while she entered in the room to be married! So.... we did it. My companion played beautifully and I sang. It was wonderful and she loved it afterwords. I was glad to help out and to be able to sing again.

To end my week, I would like to talk about today. A member, Alcineia, threw me a party for my birthday. She made a sea-food sir-fry with......... Octopus, muscle, shrimp, and squid. It was actually amazing. Then we had a fruit cake, or rather, a cake made from kiwi, apple, pear, and watermelon.

I love my mission. I love life. I miss you.

Eu vos amo.
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, March 5, 2012

Week #47 - "Why Should We Worry!? Why Should We Care!?"


We had another great week. Just Saying...

So, last P-day we started the day on the search for a cheap, good haircut for my companion. However, we quickly found out Tuesday morning that we actually found a cheap, VERY BAD hair cut for him. So he has spent the last week LOATHING his hair, hoping that soon it will grow out and return to its old curly self. Poor comp...;(

I started the week out with a fantastic division with the Zone Leaders. It seems like I am always on a division or in a meeting or something these days. Anyways, this time I went to their area and stayed with Elder Riggs. He is a really cool guy from Utah. We had a fantastic day planned out in a bairro called Colonia Aleixo. It has a special bus to go out there because it is separated from the rest of the city. I actually found out that it used to be a bairro where they sent all the sick people with leprosy. HA! Anyways, we went out there and it was BEAUTIFUL. Drop dead gorgeous!! It is right next to the river, very clean, small streets. That day happened to be overcast with light rain. I loved it!! I instantly was ready to feel the spirit and that I did. That day was one of the few days where I felt just wrapped in the spirit. Everything we did was guided. Everything we said was inspired. Our actions were lifted on wings of angels! We taught fantastic people and fantastic lessons. I really learned the importance of just listening and loving who you teach. That night we returned to our appt. at about 9 pm. We bought a pizza and sat up and talked about cool doctrine stuff. It was great to have someone to speak to in English. Sometimes, you just have to speak good ol' English.

However, while I was on that division, my companion was with Elder Gaertner doing work in my area. They had to go to Staff ( Mission headquarters) and they did not get back that day until 7 pm that night; effectively destroying the day. So though I had a great day, my companion spent hours standing on a dirty bus. Poor comp... :(

It has been raining A TON here. Every day has at least 2 hours of straight up down poor. I think its great because it is keeping the days a lot more cool, however it does eat away at the time we have to go out and teach. Also, this week whilst we were teaching, my chair broke out from under me. I have a photo. It was horrible. haha!

So this week I just kind of gave my companion the ropes to see what he would do with them. I really let him plan the days and decide what to teach and what to commit people to do. So he really went after finding those to be baptized. He wants to help many people be baptized so he invited EVERYONE and tried to get everyone to at least be interviewed. Now, normally that is not how missionaries work. We teach, to commit, to help others grow and become prepared. My companion just was trying to speed up that approach. He committed 3 people to be baptized (or at least interviewed). Alberto, Amanda, and Magaly. All three are fantastic people who really like church and are progressing in their testimonies. However in the end, only Magaly really was prepared and she was baptized on the 3rd. The other two had a few issues to work out. So, after having a long talk with my companion, we both determined that we really grew from the experience. He has seen that there is more to missionary work that teaching and explaining. It really is all about loving and helping and encouraging and showing by example. Teaching and explaining really are just the small, easy parts. The other parts are more important and much harder.

Church this week was fantastic. I love the ward. Let me tell you about Nilza and Eliana. They are sisters we are teaching who are 22 and 20 respectively. We taught them one night a week ago and then went back 4 days later and they had read PAGES! CHAPTERS of the Book of Mormon. They came to church and already WANT to be baptized. We scheduled it for this week and I am just sooooo excited. More details to come.

I love my mission. I know that God lives and loves me too. The spirit has whispered this to me and He tells me it is true.

Eu vos Amo.
Elder Asa Laws