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