Mission Slideshow

Monday, March 25, 2013

Week #102 - The Dash Likes


Well, this is indeed the second to last email that I will be writing home from the mission. But let's not that get in the way of a letter. Because we had a wonderful week.

First things first. We went to Manaus at the beginning of this week, as many will remember. We went time for a meeting with all the zone leaders and WHAT A WONDERFUL MEETING. I felt great because we got to address some issues that had been weighing on my mind. We received a lot of new training and we will now have to train our zone on these same things. I think it will be great to implement some new things. We received a lot about how to more effectively plan. This week Elder Shepherd and I planned our last week out according to the new planning system that we received and it was great. It basically is just a list of questions to verify that all you need to cover has been covered. It helps things stay focused. Anyway, we had our wonderful meeting and then returned to Boa Vista the night at midnight. Oh the life of traveling. I like it. Upon our return we really started working a lot. It is super hard to leave your area so much because it is hard to establish any order and pace to things. We have not had a full week to work in our area AT ALL this transfer. So we are still looking for the correct way to just let everything fall into place.

However, there are some wonderful members here that have really helped us out. This week we worked with Alex everyday. He is a 12 year old boy who lives in front of a member and he has been going to Church for quite some time now. He loves going and we began to teach him and his mother. Oh boy was she happy to see us because she just wants her son to stay away form all the bad things that the world has to offer to a young man, especially in Brazil. She sees a lot of bad out there and always worries about him. When he started going to church and talking with us she was overly excited. So every day we went there and taught him everything! Such a smart kid. He loves reading because he wants to get better and likes reading the church materials. Well, on Sunday we held his baptism and he asked Irmão Marcio, the member who takes him to church, to baptize him. What a beautiful service. I felt great and I could see on Marcio's face that he was grateful. He invited us to his house and to take me to the airport to send me home my last day!! That last day will be his little girls birthday. She turns 9 and is such a sweet girl.

We also had the district conference this week. The city of Boa Vista is not a stake yet, so we are a district. To all you non mormon folk, that just means that the church here is not that big yet, and we had a conference with all the members in the city. It was super cool because the president came up with his wife to the conference. We had interviews and my interviews with the president was about 1 minuted long. We will have another here in a few days ;) Anyway, we had 5 investigators there with us and I was super excited. They all loved it. I felt so good there. A young man who was visiting said something very profound to me. He name is André and he is investigating the church. He said,"You know, for 6 months we have been going to churches and at many of them I feel an emotional impact, something that hits me. But for the first time in my life I felt something different; it was not emotional, or physical. I felt something that I truly could describe as spiritual."

That is a mission. Its not physical or emotional. It is spiritual. I hope you can understand that.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, March 18, 2013

Week #101


What a wonderful week that we had. It interesting though because once again I am sitting in the mission office the week after I had left. Can't seem to get away, can I? I will explain later.

So this week we finally went back to Boa Vista by bus. The ride was wonderful actually because we got to take the executive bus and it had SO MUCH leg room. Seriously, I slept like a baby for the entire trip. Though, when we finally got home that morning, Elder Shepherd and I fell on our beds and slept for another 2 hours or so. Three weeks away from your house and traveling can really wear on you.

It is very interesting to get back to your area after 3 weeks and not know anyone! I knew nobody. The members had no clue we existed. Most thought Elder Shepherd had been transferred. Ha. Anyway, so when we started just showing up at peoples houses they were a bit confused to see two white guys for lunch! However, I am still happy because people still think I am Brazilian, so that is cool.

We felt a bit lost going back to Boa Vista because we realized we had no one that we were teaching so we would be starting from the ground up. I felt lost and I prayed a lot about it. It is super hot right now in Boa Vista and so it was a bit hard for me to motivate myself to go out and work. But we started to find some amazing people and I really like the members there so in the end I fell back into rhythm. What also helped us out was a division that we did with some really good Elders. Elder DeOliveira and Elder McIntosh. Elder De Oliveira is the same one who you sent the package too for Christmas. He received it and was super grateful for the socks and shirts. Also, he loves the old Spice antiperspirant. Hehe! But teaching with him was incredible. We taught an amazingly special girl who has lots of very complex dreams that she remembers and she had one that involved the Book of Mormon. She was super confused and had asked the missionaries to help her understand because she wanted to be baptized but felt a lot of pressure from others. She really just wanted to understand the dream. The whole time listening to this I was just praying in my heart to help her and I felt prompted to ask her a few other questions about her dream. I did so and then I really felt like I had to tell her what I thought of her dream. So I explained all the parts. I said things that just came. Then I stopped. She looked different. I asked her what she thought and she said that she felt that she had received what it meant to her. I helped her come to understand her dream and I pray she can have the courage to do what is right.

Lately, reflecting on current events and the end of my mission, I have come to realize a few things. Too much really, to put in this letter. But what I have come to understand is what now motivates me. It moves me. I have a new love and understanding of my Savior and this life, and the great and eternal plan of redemption. I think I better understand what was once said that grace is "strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means."

I have been super tired this week. I sleep more and I eat more. I do all I can, but in the end I am tired. But I know at the end of EVERY DAY, that I made it through because something other than mine own forces got me through the day. I can testify of that.

Sunday I gave a class and a talk at church. I was super tired. I was done. I was feeling a lot of discomfort. I did not know how I was going to get through that day. So I said a prayer and said "God, I have a purpose. I have things to get done and important things to say and to teach. I have to help lives. Please let me do this." When it finally came around to Principles of the Gospel, it just came to me. I lost myself and we had one of the most incredible classes about the life of Christ. The entire classes at discussing for 10 minutes and the things we learned just from one line, the first line in the class manual. I started the class talking about being active in our own salvation, and how that required an active learning part on the part of every single one of us. It went well. We ended and I gave my talk about the same things. I spoke of the active members of salvation and the passive approach that satan preaches the the members of the Theoretical Church. I explained that one of the biggest challenges to the the church as a whole is being passive members, members of a church of theory, that talks and plans, but does nothing and progresses no-where. I tried to convey with a lot of love that we have to become truly fulfillers of our own promises with God and we will receive great blessings for such. Afterwards, we received 5 referrals from the members and a marked to go out and visit another. One particular lady insisted that we come to her house to visit a family she knew, because she wanted to be an active part of the work of God. I was super impressed by the love of such members to do that. I hope that we can deserve this trust from the members of this Church of Christ.

So, this week we got a call form the assistants, Elder Gaertner, explaining that we were going to have another meeting in Manaus and that we were coming back to the city again (Manuas). However, this time we went by plane and not by bus. It was nice, but not as comfortable. Super fast though. That part I did enjoy. 1 hour plane ride is better than 12 hours in a Bus. So now I am back in Manaus. Fun stuff. We will be here for another day tomorrow. Good stuff.

I love you all so much. Read the Book of Mormon. Read the Bible.

Eu vos amo.
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, March 11, 2013

Week #100 - MVP


It was my birthday this week, and I ate McDonalds! That made me very happy. I sent some pictures. (forwarded later) I will give a very detailed letter about this week.

Monday- We returned from Vilhena taking 2 airplanes and 2 lay-overs to get there. It was wonderful to sit down and talk with President Reber (Romans mission Pres) on the airplane to Cuiabá. Man, he is an incredible man, and Sister Reber is such a calming person. I felt so comfortable on the airplane rides. Actually, coming into Manaus, there was a huge rainstorm going on and we experienced some very strong turbulence. At one point it felt like the airplane was falling and I liked it! There was lady who screamed though and that kind of ruined the party. Anyways, the pilot landed safely and we took a taxi back to the staff office.

Tuesday - So, because of that pain that I had in my chest a few weeks ago on the bus, we decided that it would be best for me to go to the hospital and check it out. So we decided to not return straight to Boa Vista and instead take a day to see the doctor. Well, little did we know it would not take just a day. We went to the doctor early in the morning to schedule an appointment with Cardiology. The lady there said the earliest we could get in was Friday. That was not going to work. So we decided to go to emergency care area and see if they could check me out. We got in a line that took forever and when we were finally attended, the doctor was not so pleasant. He had me do a ECG and a blood test. The blood tests were normal and he took the ECG and said they were fine, but he would schedule with cardiology anyway because of my pain. However, he could not schedule until Friday. LAME. So we told Sister Klein who decided to go to the hospital with us the next day to see what she could do to speed things up.

So later on March 5th we found ourselves at the hospital again. We waited for Sister Klein and then she talked to some of her contacts. After a bit of fuss we were managed to get in for March 6th, 7 am. Awesome. I was going to the doctor on my birthday.

During this whole time we would stay at the mission office, and Elder Shepherd and I would enter in baptismal records into the computer system. The mission was backed up by over 1000 records and we had a lot to do, but we managed to get ALL of it done this week. Elder shepherd did most of the work entering because I was busy taking the forms that were filled out wrong and calling missionaries to have them filled out correctly. What a man Elder Shepard is!

Anyways, I actually started a large journal entry about my birthday. I have not completed it but I will put a part of it in this letter:

"The following is the account of what happened on the sixth day of march, year 2013; my 21st birthday.
T´was a wonderful day in the beginning of March as I arose from my bed. I was tired. Really tired. It had been awhile since I had slept in his own bed and a night in the secretaries’ house, though comfortable, was not the full night’s rest that had long been expected by my tired corpse. However, there was no excuse sufficient to hold me in bed. There were things to get done that day; very important things. The fleeting thought rolled through my mind that none of the tasks that laid before me were truly that important, and that I might just be able to get away with one more hour or two of slumber. This thought passed through my mind often. But rational conclusion quickly defeated such a thought. I had to go to the hospital and I had to go that very day. Harsh.

So I arose from my and quickly assessed the situation I now found himself in. No water in the bathroom, just a bucket. That water was bound to be bone chilling and there was no time to heat up a few pans of hot water on the stove as I had done the night before. I quite enjoy hot showers in the morning. I enjoy them at night as well. Any hour could be the perfect moment for a hot shower for me except the actual moment that I now found himself in. The hot water was abandoned and reluctantly I made my way to the faucet with the orange bucket. I was not happy about this.

So distracted had I become, that I had actually completely forgot about the special day that was the 6th of March. Honestly, I simply had not even considered that date up until this point and all that ran through my mind was in no way connected to the date. Hospital, heart, shower, cold water, lame. I was late by 20 or so minutes by my assessment of the situation and I was now contemplating how I was to recuperate 20 minutes. I made my way over to the shower. Elder Shepherd had quietly appeared in the hallway now and as he passed on the left, he gave a loud reminder to me that it was my birthday. A large smile appeared on my face and I appreciated the announcement. Elder Shepherd well timed those words.

They were kind words on the march to war against body odor. Unfortunately, my weapon against such odor was not preferable. Clothes off. I grabbed the pot that had been left in the bathroom for shower purposes. In to the water it went, back out it came. I hate cold showers. Oh how I detest cold showers. Because of such, rather than throwing the pot over my head, I simply overturned the pot by a few degrees. ICE. I was no longer in any way happy about the shower. No, the cold water would not do after all. I gave up and overturned the pot on my head to wash the previously applied soap from my face. One more pot was dashed over the head and that was the end of the shower. After a quick towel-off and a zit-check in the mirror, I found the silver lining of the day – I had recovered 10 minutes. Wonderful. Now I just had to find 10 more. Maybe Elder Shepherd would be just as afraid of the cold water as I was.
Elder Shepherd was not as afraid of cold water as I was. They traded places. Elder Shepherd assumed the shower with another large bucket of water, and I assumed place in front of the ironing board to prepare my white button-down shirt. I had grown quite accustomed to the daily ritual and as I passed hot metal over my cotton-polyester blend shirt and now found myself reflecting on how many times I had done the same thing before. Every day of my mission I had done that. Shower, then iron. Sometimes it was the reverse order. But regardless I realized I had done this every day for almost 2 years. The shirt was ironed. So I put on the shirt, thinking how I had ironed a shirt to simply stuff it inside a pair of slacks. I put on my slacks and then when waited for Elder Shepherd. Elder Shepherd had not been afraid of the water. He took his time.

Soon enough Elder Shepherd appeared once again and also prepared himself for the day. The basics. Shirt, toothpaste, brush, gel, Book of Mormon. We were set. It was 6:30 am. We were supposed to already be gone. I held in my heart the fear I now had of arriving late. I hate arriving late just as much as I hate cold showers. But there was no need to express such fear; no need to tell Elder Shepherd of my frustration. The deed had been done and no amount of complaining or explaining to Elder Shepherd would change that. They would just have to call the taxi and hope for good traffic. I found solace in that thought. Elder Shepherd showed no signs of stress. The taxi arrived and they made there way to the hospital.

Traffic did move quickly and the taxi found its way to the building downtown in record time, thus soothing my soul. We arrived just before 7am. It was not preferable, yes, I did want to arrive early but the worst was behind us. We were on time. We paid the wonderful taxi-man with a voucher slip from the mission office and shuffled ourselves into an empty elevator to the 3rd floor of the building. I expected to find a very full, organized waiting room. I was wrong. The room was almost empty and there was no one to direct us to where the cardiology department. The elevator had opened up to a large room full of green plush chairs which appeared mildly but not too comfortable. Each wall was plastered with doors, though none of them were marked with exactly what went on behind them. They were simply labeled "consulting 1, consulting 2, etc." I felt lost and a tad late. Where were we to go? We waited for a receptionist to appear, who then explained that she was not on duty for another hour and could not help us. Still lost. We got up the courage to then check out a door located in the back corner of the room which seemed to have a reasonable amount of movement about it.

The nurse who was found in the room confirmed that it was in-fact the cardiologists office and she asked my ID and health plan card. I felt so relieved and quickly handed over the required documents. I had had them on the ready because previous hospital visits from the day before had taught me that nothing happens in a hospital until they know you are going to pay. She returned the documents to me and directed us to sit in the reception room and to wait until we were called. Great. I loved waking up early and in a hustle to sit and wait in reception hall.

The wait was long, but not too long as to completely annoy us, who were mostly just tired and just wished to return to our beds. I had even managed to dose off for a bit while waiting. However, that moment was the moment in which my name was called and I was ushered into the small office of the doctor along with Elder Shepherd. It was a comfortable office. I first noticed the Galaxy Notebook on the doctors desk, then I noticed the doctor, and what he was asking for; my weight and height. 62 kilos (136lbs) was my weight; that was something I knew, but when the doctor asked for my height, I forced to asked the doctor to convert 69 inches (5ft 9in) into meters on the Galaxy notebook. It came out to 1 meter, 72 centimeters. Wonderful. We proceeded to converse about the weeks previous events and how I had been feeling. I explained my previous pain attack on the bus and accounted all that had come to pass since. This did not seem to worry the doctor. It was obvious that he had seen worse. We continued to talk. The subject moved to Brazilian medical care vs US care; since the doctor was currently studying in the US. He commented on the wonders of American organization. But the light chat was quickly terminated when the printer kicked to life. The doctor handed over 3 documents to me and instructed me on how to go to the department floor which would perform one of such exams. The others would be done later that day, and the following day. I was told to go and come back at 2 pm to finish the tests for the day.

So we made our way down the 3 floors and tried our best to follow the directions which had been previous explained to us, though in our experience, we had already learned that no one in Manaus really knows how to give directions. Or, at least, that they did not know how to follow directions given by those who lived in Manaus. But luck was on our our side. Another hospital worker explained once again and we found ourselves far away in the depths of the building, checking in to perform the test prescribed. We waited in another line, only to be told to wait in different line. I presented my ID and health care card another time. It was verified once again, that our plan covered the test, and we were ushered to another waiting room."

After all that happened they performed a CAT scan. COOLEST THING EVER. I have never been so blown away with a machine in my entire life! So cool. It made me want to be a CAT scan guy. I was so impressed. I want to know how it worked! Amazing!!

We then went upstairs where the doctors performed a echo-cardiogram. It was quite intrigued and impressed with that machine again, and it was so cool to get to see my insides on my birthday! We probed around and finally found out that I have Mitral Valve Prolapse. It's a very common heart condition. Usually only shows up as a heart murmur but for some reason I'm having other symptoms like pain and fatigue. Nothing serious. They gave me some medication and I have to see some doctors when I get home in three weeks. The Cardiologist and President both feel confident that I am fine to finish out my mission here and don't need to come home early. (Don't worry mother)

Then later on for my birthday we went to McDonald's to celebrate and walked back to staff from the hospital. It took about 2 hours. HAHAHA.

The subsequent days were spent working at staff and entering in baptismal records and having way to much fun! I got to relax a little bit more. Though, I am super anxious to go back to the field. Looks like we are heading back to Boa Vista for the next three weeks to finish our assignment there. I have so little time to work now!!!!!!!!
I have developed a huge testimony of this gospel. I see now the true meaning of everything that we do and must get done in this life. I better understand my Savior. I feel like, slowly the mysteries of God are unraveling and I can see beyond. Wonderful. I LOVE the scriptures. I know they are the word of God. I ask all to read the Book of Mormon. Please. Your salvation depends on it.

I love you all and miss you guys. See you soon!!

eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Week #99 - The best week of my life!!


The following letter will be written is a slightly different format. Enjoy

Elder Laws awoke quite early on Wednesday morning. Not that he wasn't tired, or that some rude alarm was bent on disturbing his peace. Rather that night had been calm. He had stayed that night just a few blocks north of the mission office in a wonderfully comfy apartment that belonged to the assistants, though the assistants rarely actually slept there. However, on this night they had slept there, along with Elder Shepherd and Elder Laws.

But that morning Elder Laws awoke early. His nerves, excitement, and imagination were just overflowing. Thoughts of airplane rides and family reunions rushed through his head. "Had it really been 1 year and 11 months since he had seen his brother? How was he? Was he really that much skinnier?" His mind raced as he hauled himself from his bed. Elder Laws was not excited about the sub-zero shower that awaited him.

After 2 minutes he was out of the shower, refreshed and incredibly prepared for a wonderful day. It showed 3:30 am on the clock. Shirt was pre-ironed the night before. He simply had to back his bag and wait for the other 3 sleeping lions to arise and leave the den. So he packed, and waited, and watched the 3 lions scurry about. Elder Plant called the taxi, and quickly 4 lions rushed down the stairs and out the door, and across the block to the church. Elder Laws finally found where he had left his tiredness. It was on the street waiting for him. So tiredly he made his way to the taxi and off they went crammed, 4 men and 3 suitcases into a small 1.4 liter engine car. The streets were empty at 4:15 am, and they rode smoothly with very little mingling.

The airport was a bustle. Elder Laws was quite impressed and had forgotten of the rustle that happens at an airport, even at 4:30 am. Quickly they all entered into the check-in line for AZUL airlines, and began to pass the time watching other people. Elder Laws found it interesting how many different types of people you can find in an airport in the middle of the rain-forest. Incredible! His attention was then quickly brought back to the desk as Elder Gaertner asked for his passport to confirm his identity, and out of the front shirt pocket came the little blue book. Flight confirmed. They made their way to the security and put the backpacks, keys, coins, and cellphone in the plastic tubs. Elder Laws made it through in record time with the rest of the pride. They were in and ready for the journey.

After a bathroom break and a few minutes of trunky talk, the boarding announcement was made and the four Elders made their way onto the Embraer 195 where they took their seats all in a row. The assistants passed due to lack of sleep, but Elder Laws could not. Airplane proximity disorder had his heart captured. After nearly 1 year and 9 months, he was going to fly again! What a wonderful sensation. The roar of the engines was intense, as the craft eased forward. Then with increasing intensity, Elder Laws felt as they went faster and faster and then, nothing. They had fled earthy bounds and off they flew. Oh how Elder Laws loved flying. He spent he first flight to Porto Velho in complete bliss and elation with his brown head pressed to the window as he watched a sunrise illuminate the crisp white wings of the aircraft. The silent jungle gave her morning sigh and the sky was blanketed in white clouds." Incredible," he thought.

Elder Laws was surprised at the size of the airport in Porto Velho. The city was the supposed state capital, but the airport barely had enough space to fit 2 small jets. No terminal or jet-ways. Passengers left the plane by staircases placed at and rear. However, the 4 Elders did not leave. They were bound for the next destination: CUIABÁ. So after a quick refuel and bathroom break the Elders continued on there journey, only now Elder Shepherd took the window seat and Elder Laws, the aisle. The assistants remained for the most part, dead in place, knocked out by the "over-worked, under-paid" status they now held. It was again a pleasant flight.

Cuiabá was beautiful from the air and much smaller than Elder Laws expected. This airport also lacked jet-ways but a free terminal to jet bus ride was provided instead. As they arrived in the airport, and knowing of the time they had to wait until the next flight to Vilhena, the 4 sought out and found a Subway restaurant a block away form the airport. What an amazing lunch! Elder Laws felt like the king of the world as he ate a teryaki chicken sandwich with chipotle sauce. The food of champions. Pictures were taken to commemorate the experience. Upon returning to the airport, Elder Laws bought 2 post cards and sent them to some very special people. Elder Gaertner bought one and sent it to President Klein in Manaus. "Dear president, we forgot to ask permission to leave the mission. But now that we are here, let´s take advantage of the situation? Signed Elders Laws, Shepherd, Plant, and Gaertner." Soon after, all four loaded up into a ATR 42 twin turboprop aircraft and made way to Vilhena.

Upon arrival, they found that the city airport was small, super small. But this city was nice! President Miguel, leader of the Vilhena 1 branch came to pick them up with his car and they made their journey to the south, heading into the city. As the car turned onto what was a very well paved street, Elder Laws caught a glimpse of another Elder coming around the corner. But this Elder was not so recognizable as the 180 others from Manaus mission. He was a tall blonde who appeared so familiar and yet as someone who was completely new; a lost brother from years past. Elder Laws calmly left the car, a smile beaming off the edges of his mouth. He refused to turnaround, just in case it would ruin the moment, and instead he patiently removed his baggage form the rear of the car. The blonde shouted after him. That voice rang so familiar in his ears. Who could it be? It rang out with penetrating joy and love to Elder Laws' heart. Turning around, and flinging his backpack to the ground, Elder Laws gave, or rather, received the best hug of his life. He couldn't cry because the moment was too perfect for tears...

Roman was sooooo different. He was so large, yet small. He was.... I don't know. It was a moment of bliss to see him after so long. Working with him was absolutely incredible! We had a blast. I loved it. I loved every moment. I slept and dreamed about working with him. I felt so comfortable and privileged. There was a moment near the last day where I stopped in the street and simply told him how I was so grateful for those days together. I had prayed so hard so that Roman could know what I know, feel what I feel, see what I see, and be better than I ever was. I cannot believe God gave me the opportunity to be with my brother and answer my own prayer. Roman is the best missionary I know. He will continue to be so.

Getting to know the missionaries from another mission was also an amazing experience. Elder T. Nascimento, Elder Piñon (american), and Elder Duarte are excellent missionaries that really taught me tons of things. I was privileged to get to work with each and every one of them. It was incredible. I hope the best for all of them.

We had 5 baptisms this week in the city. Elder Laws baptized Leticia, Elder Laws baptized Daniel, and Elder Duarte baptized Ian. Then on Sunday, 2 brothers that Roman and I taught were baptized by a church member that lives close to their house! I was super impressed! What an incredible experience. We had meetings with both mission Presidents and it was awesome to hear from 2 amazing leaders. Incredible!

We 4 Elders that arrived together stayed in a very nice hotel called the Hotel Rover where we had free breakfast every day and we would practice our hymn for the meeting on Saturday. The hymn was "Faith With Every Footstep". It was wonderful to sing in harmony. I still LOVE singing. Congratulations to the Union Choirs. Go win state for me!

Really so much happened:

I scrubbed a ladies rug for a chance to talk to her family.
We spoke with EVERYONE that passed by.
I stopped a man on a bicycle too!
We ate alligator, well I did.
I accidentally slept in.
We took a ton of photos
I met a Brazilian who can play the piano super well.

I really just wanted to be the best example I could to my brother. I want him to be the best missionary he possibly can. I expect to see great things from him. I love Roman so much and it broke me up to see him get on that bus as he went back to Cuiabá but some things just have to happen. I gave him a huge hug and told him that he stinks and sent him off on his way. Now its business time.

I cannot wait to sit at home talking with ALL my family in Portuguese. Yes that is the call to Hanna, Kati and yes you too Mother, to LEARN NOW! I cannot wait for that moment.

Eu vos amo.
te amo Roman

Elder Asa Laws

Monday, February 25, 2013

Week #98 - Yeah, I'm a llama again!!!!!!!

So I think I might just write the worlds largest letter for this week because I really do have soooo much to say this week. Wow a lot has happened and I am so blessed.

So, first things first. This week I did not work in my area. I went out to a small city in the middle of the state called Rorainópolis!! I went out there with Elder De Jesus and we had a blast!!!! Let me tell you about it. So to get out there you take a large passenger van that costs 35 reals per person. The road is mostly paved but some parts are just dirt trail so the trip takes about 5 hours to get there. Wow what a trip. I saw some of the flat lands. They say that Roraima (the state) used to be a giant lake so it is FLAT and very windy. LOVE IT! When we got there I was super nervous. We were the only official presence of the Church in the entire city, 400 kilometers from anywhere and anyone. SUPER COOL. We got in the house and then went out to find people to teach. It was wonderful to see the city. It is super small and has no stoplights. Half of the city just has dirt streets and the power goes out every day. Well that does not effect us and we managed to find some incredible people to teach.

I have never met so many wonderful people who are prepared to receive us. People are open and willing, and they have so much faith to do what the Lord asks of them. ANYTHING. There are people here who we taught who gave up coffee or smoking without a second thought! Incredible. The Lord always provides for those who trust him.

Thursday- Sara, Deuzarina, Eliene, and Kailanny were all baptized. They are wonderful examples to me.

Sara we met looking for her brother. From the moment I saw her I knew that she was looking for us. As we spoke, I could see in her eyes that she was feeling something and that see really truly believed what we taught. When she spoke, she told us of how she had been looking for the right path but never seemed to find it and that earlier that month she had a dream. She was fishing on the river along side hundreds of others. The first fish she caught was half eaten and rotten. She continued fishing and caught two fish at the same time; a white and a brown one that tasted wonderful to her. She testified to us, with watery eyes that she now knew what the dream meant. Elder De Jesus and I were the good fish that she had caught (I am white and Elder De Jesus is brown) and that she felt truly that we had come from God to give her what she had been looking for. She accepted all we taught and agreed to be baptized. I felt such a strong spirit.

Deuzarina, Eliene, and Kailanny are all the same family and we found them on the street. Wednesday night we taught them about the restoration and the gospel of Christ and left them to study and pray over the night till we returned. Well the next day we arrived and all three were ready saying "so, when can we get baptized?' We taught again and they all agreed to follow Christ's example and become members of His church. Elder De Jesus baptized them and I confirmed them by the side of the river.

Friday- Daniel, Kedson, Israel, and Ângelo were baptized on the banks of the river.
Daniel, Kedson, and Israel are all the brothers of Sara. We had spoken with them on Thursday, and Daniel and Israel even watched Saras baptism, however they were not quite so converted. So we left them with some pamphlets and with the invite to simply pray and ask God. Well, the next time we arrived and all three were ready saying " so, when can we get baptized?' We taught all the rest of the things they must know and they all agreed to follow Christs example and become members of His church. Elder De Jesus baptized them and I confirmed them by the side of the river.
Ângelo was a kid I met in front of a bar. My companion asked the bar owner if he could go in to use the bathroom, so I stood out front. Angleo was just listening to music on the sound box. This was about 3 pm, so no one was drinking there. I introduced myself and we spoke with him about how God calls all to come unto him through baptism. We gave him a pamphlet and said we would go by later. Thursday night we went by and taught him. He said he would think about it and ask God. He also wanted to talk with his mom. I really liked him too because he is super smart. When we came back, he had decided himself and his mother consented. I baptized him on that same river. What an amazing experience!

So to get people out to the river we had a man with and old little car take us out there. We dubbed his car the baptism-mobile (batismóvel). Man this car is old and beat up but I loved riding in the back taking people out there. The river is about 10 minutes by car from the city off on a dusty trail behind the city. So cool.

While out there I also got to hold a parrot and an animal called a "paca". I have no clue what it is in English, but I have fotos. So you will see.

Then on Sunday we held a church service with just a few people there and then we had to take a van to Boa Vista. It arrived late and I was very worried. Why? Because that night, Sunday, I had to take another bus BACK to Manaus for our Zone Leader conference. That bus left at 9pm that night. So I was worried about how later we would be getting back to Manaus. It's a 10 hour bus ride. But we made it on time, after many delays, and with 15 minutes to spare I made it on time and we got on our bus back to Manaus.
On the bus ride I had an incredible experience. At about 11pm Manaus time I felt an incredibly strong pain in my chest and it grew and grew. So I asked my companion for a blessing. I got pretty scared because it got hard to breath and it hurt so much, but I couldn't do anything. It felt like I was going to die. However, I trusted in what Elder Shepherd said in a blessing "the Lords is in control." 1 minute after that blessing, it passed and it was as if nothing happened. I was fine. No pain. Nothing. I was perfectly comfortable. We called the president when we got signal and he said that it was a miracle. I am so grateful for the power we have to give and receive blessings.

Well, now I am in Manaus again and I can officially talk about the fact that I will be with Roman for this whole next week!!!! I am sure you all know since it seems everyone already knows. I think I've neveer been more excited for something in my whole life! I knew a week ago on Monday and kept it on the down low. I just got off the phone with "Elder Laws" explaining to him what will happen with his area while I am there, based on the instructions from President Klein. haha! President Klein also spoke with Roman. It was super funny because Roman said he speaks too fast! hahaha. Well I will be flying there tomorrow and I will spend a week and the president gave me a job. BAPTIZE WITH YOUR BROTHER. He wants a photo all in white to send to the Liahona! hahaha. Isn't this the most amazing thing you've ever heard of? We just could not be more blessed!

I just got done eating pepperoni pizza for the first time in my mission and now I am just happy as can be. Tomorrow will be excellent.

eu vos amo.
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, February 18, 2013

Week #97 - Hello From BOA VISTA!!!!


So I have about a million things to tell everyone and I am so incredibly excited to write this letter. So here we go. My Christmas package finally arrived!! It was so nice to eat Tillamook Cheese again!

We enjoyed a very successful week in my area, district, zone, and in my mission. We had 3 amazing baptisms in my area. What a story. We arrived at the house of Daria, Sara, and Samara. When we got there, Debora, a member who lives there said, "hey, they have something they want to tell you, but are really shy, so I will say it. I spoke with them about my baptism and how the things you guys teach are true. Well, they prayed and want to get baptized too! Only, Daria is leaving soon, so can we do the baptism tomorrow?" Wow, we were completely floored. Days before we were thinking about stopping to go there because they were just not showing much interest, but I guess the Lord showed us the real power of the spirit and a good friend. So the next day (Wednesday) we held a wonderful baptism service in which many members came to see. Wonderful!

Side note, this whole week I got really sick to my stomach and I felt really bad. But I refused to just lie down, we we still worked our tails off. Well, the Lord blesses and after 30 reals (Brazilian money) in Pepto Bismol, I woke up without any pain. Wonderful!

So on Wednesday a lot more happened than just 3 baptisms in my area! We also had my final zone conference of my mission! Wow, it was absolutely wonderful and I learned SOOOOOO much. I have a lot to get better at with my new calling and area (I will get to that later). At the conference I bore my final testimony and it was weird. I did not know what to say. But I felt good but I did not cry. I am not one to cry with those sorts of things. So I did not. Felt bad about it too but I just do not feel like I am really coming close to the end. I feel like I just could keep going forever!

Afterward Sister Klein made inspections of our house. Well, let me tell you that my house was PERFECT. She was marveled at how clean everything was and gave us the highest award, the celestial house award. I even took pictures. Hehe! It was awesome. She even loved how it smelt could because I got my package from home with the wallflower scents (from bath and body-works). Awesome stuff!!

THEN, later that day the zone leaders called me saying that they had someone who wanted to be interviewed at that very moment and be baptized. So I ran about 3 kilometers to there area to find an older, very poor looking man. His name was Isaias and he was a sight. I was impressed that the missionaries were serious with me because at first sight, I swore he was a drunk street bum. Well, I was DEAD wrong. He was one of the most special people I have met. He was so truly sincere in his faith. So much had happened in his life. He had so many errors yet, I saw something in him. He TRULY believed in Christ. As I taught him and interviewed him he stopped me and said "Son, I have been to many churches and seen many things in my life. I want you to know that what you have just to told I know to be true. I have never felt truth as I have now sitting with you." In his prayer he asked to God to forgive him and he expressed such a desire to leave his sins and be clean. The man was converted. I was privileged to be able to baptize him. I wanted to cry as I saw Gods mercy in his face. Then Daria, Sara, and Samara were baptized.

The next day I interviewed 4 more people to be baptized and all of them were amazing people as well. They truly wanted to follow Christ as well and all 4 were baptized. By the end of the week, my District had 8 baptisms, the zone had 17, and the mission roughly 300. The blessings of the temple in this mission are miraculous!!

I ended this week with a very hectic phone call... Sunday was when the assistants were to call about transfers, and normally those who travel are called a day early or earlier that day. Well, at 5:50 pm I received a call from the staff saying "Hey, did you get a call yet? Yea, you are being transferred to BOA VISTA, in Roraima(that is another state). You will be taking a bus at 8pm tonight! So you need to get here by 7:30. Your companion will be Elder Shepherd." I was floored!!! I quickly found a member to take me there and after a 20 minute run home from the church we packed up in 30 minutes and were off to staff! Believe it or not I made it on time and caught my bus, along with Sister Santiago. So at 8pm yesterday we started a 10 hour bus ride. I arrived here this morning at 6 am and waited for my companion to pick me up till 7:30 am. NOW, I am chill and I love it here. Also, I had to leave most of the food from my package though because I had no space. But that is okay I shared it with my other companions. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.

Elder Shepherd is one of my best friends on the mission. I met him at BYU because were in the same ward and now we are great friends. He is from CoeurD'Alene, Idaho and he loves all the cool stuff. We will get along great. We are the zone leaders of the ENTIRE STATE and Boa Vista is on the northern side of the Amazon Jungle from Manaus. This transfer we will travel to a small city in the middle of nowhere that is just now receiving missionaries. Huge responsibility! I am super excited! Our home houses 4 missionaries and it a really big house, just for us. I have ac and hot water. I am super excited and I am so blessed for the best last transfer ever of any mission.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, February 11, 2013

Week #96 - A clown fish! Go on! Tell us a joke!


So this week was just as fast as the last one, and it was REALLY HARD for me. I will be honest, I loved my last area like no missionary has ever loved his area. So when I was moved to Colonia Oliveira Machado this week, it was hard. I will miss everyone there and all the wonderful people I was teaching.

However, this place is really cool! It is very close to my first area on my mission, Mauazinho. Remember how at the beginning of my mission I lived by the marine and airforce bases? Well, this place sits on the other side of the those bases! So I get to see the jets and c-130's land every day!

My new companion is Elder Greenwood. He is from Orem, Utah, and went to Orem High School. I showed him a picture of Laws (cousin) and he said that he knew him there!!! That is pretty cool, right! Mormon world is very small. He is a bit quiet, and nothing like Elder Drake, but I do like him. He is super funny sometimes! Also, he is a ginger (red head) and that makes him the COOLEST ever, so yeah. Anyways. We have work to do. Lots and lots of work to do.

Why? Well, because the mission baptized 326 people last week! And that means we just have to help all of them stay strong and establish the church! We had a marvelous baptism of a man named Michel. Actually his name is Marcio but he goes by Michel. He has been investigating the church for 4 months and he always had wanted to be baptized, but kept putting it off. So I came to him on the first day and said, "Michel, you don't know me, but I know you, and you have to get baptized, and know that. Lets stop playing and follow the Lord." He was baptized 2 days later and he asked me to do it! I was so happy!

So my new house is pretty spacious and I really like it. We have 3 rooms and that means room for luggage, and desks, and stuff. My last house was super small. Now it is like a dream! It is also a lot easier to keep clean. So now my house is PERFECT! Except we have mosquito's that torment us, but I will solve that problem this week. Sister Klein gave us a cool way to fight them off. So I will implement all revealed tactics against them and I shall win.

So this week is Carnival and last year, I was a really far off area in the city so nothing really happened. This year, my area is right next to the center of the city and all day and night we just here music, and parties, and dancing, and things that should not be happening but are. SO MUCH BEER!!! I had no idea there were so many people who loved to get drunk all together in the street. Weird man. I my companion does not enjoy the music at all.

Well, a new bishop was called this week in our ward! So that will be very interesting. Two new Elders and a new bishop. Interesting. Our church building is actually a rented our building that is very small and it only holds abut 80 people in it. And because of the volume of missionaries now, that church has really been cutting down on other resources to spend, and we will be leaving our rented out chapel, and will move to a real church building that is far away from our area, Lagoa Verde. I know that building very well, because it was part of my very first district on the mission. It will be hard to take people to church but there is a member here who is really good friends of the missionaries and he has a car. So he will help us out.

I know that God inspires men in our day and age. I know the heavens are not closed and that Gods power and influence is exercised by worthy men. In know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, who was sent to cleanse of all sin, if we are obedient to His word. I know these things independent of any other person.

Eu vos amo
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, February 4, 2013

Week #95 - A week to remember


Wow, there was just so much that happened this week, yet it seemed to pass super fast. I just am blown away about that. Every week on a mission just goes by so fast. It scares me.

So this week we once again worked our tails off and it was wonderful. We walk A TON. Seriously I think we walked across the entire zone at least 2 times this week. We had interviews to do and divisions to fulfill and people to help out. So we were running around. Thank goodness we have a day to just sit down and plan things out and organize the week ahead, or we would be lost! Anyways. We are having a good time. The whole mission is actually, as that mission manaus baptized over 300 people this week. Incredible! We are going to open new areas and new cities soon.

I forget who sent it to me, but I have on the mission Bananagrams. Well, I found it at the bottom of my bag and Elder Drake and I have been addicted to it! Every day we play a few rounds of odd scrabble like fun! Sometimes we try it our in Portuguese but really it just works out better in English. Thank you to whoever sent me Bananagrams. (It was his sisters)

So we had some incredible experiences this week. First is about Samiris, who was baptized this week. Wow! So we met her at the very beginning of the week and we started teaching her every day. Her sister is an active member so she had already known of the church. However, she had never spoken with the missionaries, nor had she ever considered being baptized. So we taught her and the lessons were wonderful!. She told us of how good she felt in the lessons. She wanted to be baptized. However, when it came down to the hour on Saturday, She started getting really nervous as 13 year old girls do and she was getting that cold, butterfly feeling in her stomach and said she did not want to get baptized anymore. When we came to pick her up on Sunday she was so anxious that she did not even want to go! But she had promised she would earlier. So she finally came. We were really worried that at church someone would tell her that she should wait and not get baptized, that she wasn't ready, even though is was. So we had been praying that no one would say anything.Well, just as we got there, everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. OH man, I was not happy but with some help we got all the young women together and asked them to sit with her in church. They all got up and bore powerful testimonies of the church. Samiris felt so good, that her fear went away and she told us she was ready. The Lord came through for us. I was quite happy. It was a beautiful baptism.

Other amazing experiences were that all the wards had baptisms this week in the zone. That made me very happy. Also, I has been raining a ton so I am not that hot anymore. Though I still miss Portland weather. But I can wait a little longer more.

So, I want to share a very personal story with you all. The purpose of me telling you all this story is to LEARN and to UNDERSTAND how serious the Lord takes obedience. I feel much can be learned from this story. Today I went to play soccer. Actually I went to play ultimate frisbee, but someone brought a ball, so we went to the court and started playing soccer. (We put up some good goals but that is not important.) Well President Klein saw and gave ME a call. "Hello Elder Laws, how is the gaming going?" is what he said. I responded that we were losing, to which he said, "No Elder Laws, you do not even know how much you lost." We had a good chat. We will talk even more later today. You see, playing soccer in my mission, if you remember, is against the rules. This is a recent rules change.

However, why I wish to tell everyone this story is to understand that YOU cannot put your desires before the Lords revealed word. EVER. You cannot evade to listen to the Spirit. There are rules and laws given to men to protect them and guide them, to show them the way back to God. When one brakes these paths, he brakes all he believes and testifies by his action of his faithlessness. As did I and I feel terrible. I do not desire such a fate for no one. That is why I am on a mission. That is why I wish to help others. So that no one feels the pain of sin. So that through Christ we are cleansed. So, is soccer a sin? No. Disobedience is. I never want to disobey again. Ever. And neither should you. Do what what has to be done. Always.

Eu vos amo.
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, January 28, 2013

Week #94 - "You´re killing smalls!"


Well, let me tell you that this week was one of the fastest weeks that I can remember on my entire mission. Wow, I cannot believe that I am writing you again. Stupid fast.

So, we WORKED OUR TAILS off this week. Seriously, we taught over 80 lessons this week! Are you kidding me? We are just really pushing ourselves to give it our all. Both of us are at the end of our mission, so we are doing everything possible to help others and we have been so blessed with the essential help of the wonderful members of this church! Our ward mission leader, Irmão Frank, is just giving it everything he has got to be able to help us do the work. We are so lucky to have him on our side.

So, this week was super hard though. We tried so hard but it felt like everything was against us. We have amazing people to teach but everything possible that could go wrong to tempt someone or to dissuade someone from learning with us and studying about the gospel, yea, everything of that nature happened this week with our investigators. We are teaching tons of people so we get to see a little of everything. Men who cheat on their wives and boys who are addicted to drugs. If you do not keep yourself thinking about the amazing work it could be really easy to get yourself down. I will admit, I did get down a bit because we are doing EVERYTHING in our power and in the end, it is not our choice. People choose to accept our help or not. We just preach with the Lords spirit to bring them to feel the truth. And to that end, I can say I feel a wonderful spirit in all of the lessons we teach. I feel the Lord on our side even if sometimes it seems like everything is against us. So for that, I thank the Lord every night when I pray.

Elder Drake and I are having a blast. Oh, how we joke around and just are 2 kids on the street. I do not think there are two Elder who quote more movies, make more jokes, and laugh as hard as we do every day. A few days ago he smiled and looked at me and said very slowly..."beef enchilada" to which I almost cried laughing and said "never has two words made me so trunky!" On Saturday we were sitting on the street when a little puppy came up to me. I pet him and he was super cute. So I turned to Elder Drake and said "You know, I would never punch a puppy in the face." Oh, Elder Drake died laughing for about 10 minutes straight. We have fun!

A young man by the name of Lucas was baptized this week. His older brother is a member and he is 17 years old. Really, before we met him, he never liked the church and had passed through many problems in his life. Drugs, police, gangs, etc. He has the scars to prove it. HOWEVER, he started coming to soccer at the church and he really liked talking with us. So we taught him the gospel and last week he came up to Elder Drake and said "what do I do to get baptized and be a missionary?" WOW! So we continued to try to meet with him but it was really hard because he lives so far away. Anyways, he was baptized and he asked me to do it, saying "you should do it, my life was changed because of you." I was touched. The first time I had seen him, I saw a punk. This Sunday he came to church in a button up shirt, smiling and just happy as could be. He sat with me at church and I confirmed him a member of the church. What a great story. I am grateful for these moments. I work for these moments. I pray, and sweat, and cry, and bleed, and work, and try, and fail, and pray again, all for THESE moments. What a blessing to feel such a love for another.

Well, if you ever wanted to know what motivates a 20 year old kid from urban northwest USA to live in the streets of the amazon, now you know. Its for the people and for God. It is for love and for feeling the spirit in the lives of others and in mine. Its for the work and the glory of my Lord. I am so blessed and privileged to give this work. I do not want anything else more than to do this.

eu vos amo
Elder Asa Laws

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Week #93


Let me tell you that this week was the busiest, most work filled week of my life, and it was the most fruitful week of my entire mission. I am so happy.

So just so you return missionaries and others can get the idea. This week my companion and I taught 60 lessons! Yes, you read that right. We ran all over the place and we don't have a car. We were doing the absolute best planning. We really are doing 100 percent everything possible. This is truly the first time in my life I can say I have done EVERYTHING in my power and then prayed for the rest. And truly God has blessed us.

On Tuesday the very first day of this transfer my new companion and I, Elder Drake decided to visit a few young men. We went to a certain house, only to find that those young men were not there, but another man was, Aldary. I had met him once before but this time it was it different. We found in in a very sad state. He was quite put down and very concerned. So we spoke with him about Christ. He began to open up to us and he described how he felt such a desire to do something; to change his life and to find what he was missing. We testified of Christ and how he truly needed to be baptized to change his life. I have rarely felt such a spirit in my life as I did that day, in that house. It was precious as we testified to this man. His countenance changed and his eyes teared. He began to feel something. He told us that he knew that it was all true. So he then turned to the young man who had been with us that day, Italo, and asked "how is it? To be baptized by Gods' power?" This young man responded one word: "Perfect." At that moment, Aldary decided he was going to be baptized that very day! We left the house and flew! We made the calls and the district leader came to interview him. We talked with the members to prepare to font. EVERYTHING worked. It was as if angels flew before us preparing the way.Aldary asked ME to baptize him and as I did, I felt I could see God. He cried as he came out of the water and gave me the biggest hug. I felt something incredible. I later asked him "how did you feel?" He replied "Perfect. I am truly a new man." Wow. I was shocked. God knew of this mans need and we were there RIGHT WHEN HE NEEDED IT. I felt as Philip did in the Bible baptizing the Eunec or as Peter baptizing the 3000. He knew it as they did. This is the truth!

Oh man, so much more happened this week. We had the spirit with us constantly. We had scores of lessons where we knew that that person was touched. We met another women who told us that she had never felt such a strong force with her; that it was as if someone was by her side telling her to believe! We met 2 ladies from a referral; Seliane and Suellem. They knew the very first day, that what we said was true and they came to church with us. This week they are planning on getting baptized! We are just working so hard, praying so hard, walking miles and miles. Seriously, nothing will hold this work back. We have serious business to get done.

My new companion is Elder Drake. He is from Seattle Washington, Poulsbo actually, and he is INCREDIBLE. He has spent his whole mission traveling around the tiny cities on the amazon and baptizing people in the river. Absolutely crazy. For over a year he has baptized every week on his mission. WOW. I love the guy. We just play around all day. He is a mariners fan and the Miami heat. This week we tried to list out every NFL team and every MLB team as we walk. We got all the football teams but we had forgot 2 baseball teams. It took us the entire week to remember the Kansas City Royals and Pirates. But we finally got them all on Saturday. Also, we quote "The Sandlot" on an hourly basis. Basically he is the coolest guy ever and I love the guy. We have way too much fun. Seriously. Its good stuff.

So the members in this ward are THE GREATEST of all time. We have meetings that go well, people that go out with us EVERY DAY, and they actually do their home teaching. Irmão Ytlon gives us car rides whenever we truly need them (only about once a week). Our ward mission leader checks up with us DAILY on what we need and how the work is going. the young men walk with us. The leadership gives us referrals. We have EVERYTHING a missionary could ever want. We even had a meeting with the stake counsel, where the stake president kept telling everyone about how good our ward is going. I am so blessed to work here. Wow. Just wow.

We also had 2 other baptisms on Sunday as well. Gleyson and Antonio. So they are young men we have met at the soccer tournament this week. Last week I sat next to Gleyson at church and talked to him about the church. he said he was feeling really good and I testified that it was the spirit of God and invited to be baptized the next week. Well, he accepted and the whole week was just super excited. We had tons of people at his baptism and we are so lucky to meet good young men like him. Antonio is Aldary's younger bother who saw his brothers baptism and told me that he had felt something really strong at his brothers baptism and it had made his hair stand up. He wanted to learn more. So we talked with him every day and on Sunday he was baptized as well! It was amazing. It felt so good. They felt so good. I love being a servant of God. There's nothing better (Oh, oh oh!).

I love this mission. There is no place better. I love everything about his work. I just want to do my best, hang the rest, and give it all I have. I have a work to do and I have no time left to get it all done.

eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, January 14, 2013

Week #92


So I have a few things I would like to write about. But first, TRANSFERS!!! I will be staying in my current area and I will receive a new AMERICAN to train to be a Zone Leader. It will be really cool and I am super excited. This next transfer is only 5 weeks long instead of the normal 6 weeks. So we will see how it goes. His name is Elder Drake and I know nothing about him. More to come next week!

So, this last week we were able to help out with a huge project the the young men organized; a SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT! OH yeah, I was excited for this one. We have been teaching tons of the players but it was really cool to be able to start the tournament with a prayer and lesson. 40 young men were there! 10 of them came to church after wards. I was super excited! I still am. These guys are really good kids too, who just want to play and not get into trouble. They play just to enjoy the game.The thing is, you have two options in Brazil, you play on a nice field if you have money or you play on the street if you don't. And on the street there can arise problems. So tons of kids prefer to play at the "Mormon Church" because it is a nice court and everyone has to play clean. Anyways, I love soccer and I love being a missionary teaching the young men that are loving to play soccer. Now I get to mix them both!

So this week we went to a members house to try to find our ward mission leader because he had a meeting with us. We get there and a little girl popped her head out and said "hi". I spoke with her a bit and told her to go get her mom, which she did, running through the house saying " Mom! Mom! The Mask is here!" I started to laugh, but what was even funnier is I could hear her mother " What? what? Who is the mask? Are you talking about the Elder?" Man, I do not get it. I do not look that much like Jim Carrey!

Love you all!
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, January 7, 2013

Week #91 - "together we are many. Divided we are few. Alone, nothing. With God, everything."


Wow, we had a pretty amazing week, and I am just feeling pretty darn good as a missionary in 2013.

So, the new years eve party we went to was pretty darn cool. We drank a lot of soda and of course TERERÊ. It is basically the best drink ever. We played Monopoly deal all night long with Elder Pires and Elder Dias. Good stuff. However, I always find that new years is the weirdest holiday because I do not feel any different. The clock strikes 12 and I still feel like I did 3 seconds before. Nothing different, except the noise! I shared my Sriracha hot sauce with everyone and Brazilians are not into stupid, hot, so most of them hated the sauce. Very funny to watch irmão Renan chocking because his chicken was so hot. Cruel, but funny. Hey, don´t judge me.

We also happened to go to the temple this week and I was impressed with what I learned there. The temple is a house of God, a place of love and beauty. You can really find Heaven there if you are looking for it. The mysteries of God are beautiful.

I sent a box to Roman this week. It contains the secrets of the universe and two baseball gloves. I received packages too! That you so much Grandma Val and Bro. Lindhorst! But I do have to comment. Bro Lindhorst, the package came and the box was black and smelled very sweet. We opened it to find all the jolly ranchers had melted and everything became a giant sticky ball of goodness. I split my spoils between me, the APs and the mission secretaries.

We did a 2 day division this week and I went with Elder Dias to his area for a day then we went to my area. It was super tight. Miracles happened. They have been teaching a young man, Junior, for a while but his mother never let him be baptized. Well, we decided to talk with her one last time. I sat down and spoke with her for about 30 minutes then she said "No, my son needs to be baptized if he ever is going to be a good man. Baptize him tomorrow please." We were shocked. This lady was certainly touched by God.

Also, we bought a pizza and fruit loops and I ate an entire box of cereal and half a pizza. Oh, what a night!

Nossa! We had the coolest experiences ever this week on Sunday. We had another baptism, Juvã. He
is a kid who likes to play soccer at the church and he was extremely impressed with how he felt. Elder Doratiotto spoke with him and he chose for himself to be baptized! They went there and spoke with his family and they agreed to let him join the church! So we had the most amazing baptism ever! I was super happy!

We also had a wonderful experience with the ward! We have a wonderful new ward mission Leader, Frank. He is the man and I swear no one loves the church as much as he does. His life was terrible before the gospel and he is just grateful for the church and he just wants to share it with everyone! So we have been working on tons of wonderful things to involve the members more! We did an activity with all the the leaders where we went out and handed out fellowship cards to receive free DVDs. We went out and it started to rain HARD. Even then, all of them pushed forward and we grabbed over 400 referrals!!! I am super excited with this ward. These people are so special to me.

I Just love my mission and I want everyone to know. I just love the people here. I love the trials. I love the hardships. I love the peace and the smiles.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Week #90 - "I've got a soft spot for Klinger. He looks a little like my son, and he dresses a lot like my wife."


Wow this week just flew right on by, you know? I feel like I was here yesterday typing about Christmas, and now I am here typing about the new year! How does that happen? OH yeah, the world keeps on moving while I don't pay attention.

So, I have to first say that I am proud of my New England Patriots for making into another playoff year. That is how you get it done. Please, just win the super bowl this time. Eli will not likely be there again.

So, I would like to tell all you non family folk about how it was to talk with my family this last week. GREAT!!! Yes, it was wonderful and it was just in time too. I was feeling the mid-winter blues from being away from home during the holidays and a good chat with the ol' family did the trick in helping me out.

Hanna has turned into a gorgeous young women so look out all you boys, her older brother is coming home soon! Kati, I cannot believe it but you will be going to college and you will feel how I felt, except, Zach Collier will not be one of your roommates. You won't throw a gun in the air for fun and in place of snow, you will have sandy Hawaiian beaches. SO it will be much cooler for you. I am excited to see what you feel like after a weeks away from home. Roman you speak freakin´Portuguese and have what is called a "capira" accent, which the English equal would be a "hick" accent. (Sorry Bishop Rushing) It was super cool to talk to you and see the differences between my Portuguese, yours and Dads. Weird stuff. Speaking with you was definitely one of the coolest things about that call. Mother is good. She has an ipad mini so she is cool now! haha. Actually, I do not even know what is cool anymore. In Brasil the windows phone is what is cool..... weird. But it was really cool to just sit for a bit and talk about how I am feeling, IN PORTUGUESE! So yeah, calling home was cool!

The Christmas party we went to was super cool! We went to a recent converts house, Ilton, and we had a blast with the members. Brasil is really different because they feast on the 24th, not the 25th, and most people in Manaus couldn't care less about gifts. Most people I know do not get any. I made mashed potatoes and gravy forChristmas and everyone LOVED IT, so that was cool. My companion made brownies. I felt good to eat familiar things for the holidays.

We also did something rather special Christmas night. We went with a family in the ward, Luis and Auribel, to visit another family who we had recently baptized, Larissa and Rossinei. Rossinei has been without a job for a while and they do not have much. So we took tons of food over there and gifts for the kids! I wanted to cry because we brought them Christmas. They had nothing to eat and no gifts. It tore my heart out. What a wonderful thing to do on Christmas eve.

We did a service project this week, painting a door for Ilton as well and is was super fun to just get out of my tie and do something else.

Oh, I forgot to wear a tie to church! It was a huge embarrassment when I had to call a member and ask him to bring me a tie. Of all things! I wear one every day! How could I forget? Going to church? Well, it all ended well and we held the baptism of Joeverton. He is a young man who plays soccer with the member and it was a wonderful baptism! I conducted the music. Wonderful. Just great. Good stuff.

Today, I played catch with my baseball gloves in the rain. WOW. Once again I had forgot how awesome baseball is and how much I wish to play a game. Well, just a bit longer and I will play with SOMEONE when I get home. Also, I will play soccer with you, Reed.

I am having a good time. I just decided this week that I have so little time left that I have to just do my best, hang the rest, and stay smiling through anything. So that is what I am gonna do.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws