Mission Slideshow

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