Mission Slideshow

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