Mission Slideshow

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