Nova Natal Week 2

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One thing that has helped the work a lot here is the members. We´ve had members work with us several times since I´ve been here. Sometimes they stay with us for a whole afternoon, going to teaching appointments. Right now we have a good-sized pool of investigators- people that we contacted on the street and agreed to have another visit in their home. The mission has standards of excellence that include making 20 contacts per day. We tried hard to meet the standards of making contacts this week and achieved it every day. This is something that we didn´t do in my first area, but it´s helping us now. I think it´s even more important to find references from members though, because most baptisms generally come from references.
This week we have a missionary family night scheduled with a couple in the ward. They´ll be having a family night in their home, but they said that they won´t invite anyone. They´re giving invitations to the two companionships in the ward and it´s our job to bring investigators. I´m pretty excited for it and I hope we can bring a lot of people!
We had a couple of experiences this week that made me think about what our message is as missionaries and how it can help people. Does that make sense? I know the missionary lessons well, but I had to stop and think about HOW it can actually help people in their lives with their struggles. Here are a couple of experiences from this week:
We had a guy (who may or may not have been drunk) come up to us saying that he was having problems providing food for his family and that he wanted us to help because he knew missionaries helped people. He brought us into their house and we saw that they really do need help. He was baptized several years ago and said that he wants to come back, but he doesn´t seem very sincere.
We also made a contact on the street with a lady that wanted a visit from us because she was having problems with her marriage. We haven´t been able to find her at home yet, but we´ll try again this week.
But things are going well here and I´m really excited for general conference at the end of the week! I heard that there will be a room where all the american missionaries can watch it in english- and there are several in our stake.
Everyone enjoy conference this weekend!

Love, Elder Church

Natal Week 1

Monday, September 22, 2014

Elder Delgado

The area i´m in is called Nova Natal. It´s in the north part of Natal. The name of the ward we´re in is Nova Natal and there´s another companionship in our ward because the standard of the mission is to have 2 companionships per ward. It still gets pretty hot here, but it´s overcast a lot of the time. It´s already rained 3 or 4 times since I´ve been here! It´s really green here too like I was saying in the last email. I haven´t seen the ocean yet and I think we´re still pretty far from it. There´s a church building about 10 mins away from our apartment and it´s really nice and big. We live in a small apartment complex on a busy street with lots of stores. We´re right next to the market which is nice. In our complex there are several small apartments with a small common area in the middle with an open roof. We have some friendly neighbors that are fun to live next to. One of them is a pastor of another church.
My companion, Elder Delgado, has been out for a year and 3 months but I´m only his second American companion. He´s very obedient and is a good example to me. He and his companion left a couple of investigators from the last transfer, so we´re working a lot to find new investigators. But we had 3 investigators come to church for the first time yesterday which was great. For some reason it seems a lot easier to find new investigators here than in Caico. There are also a lot more families that live here.

We have one investigator who i´m pretty excited about. His name is Gutenberg, he´s 30 and he lives on his own. They met him on the street earlier this week before I got here and we started teaching him once I arrived. He understands things well and he asks good questions. He´s been reading the book of mormon too. He prayed about the things we were teaching him and told us about a dream he had that night that he took as an answer that they are true. He was at church yesterday and he liked it. We have talked to him a few times about baptism and he wants to be baptised once he feels prepared.

The members are really great here. We´ve already had a few members come out on visits with us. The ward seems to function pretty well, but i´ve heard it has problems too. The members have been very welcoming to me!  This area seems to have a lot of potential and I'm excited to see what we can do in these next few weeks.  I feel pretty adjusted to life here. It was hard to leave my first area after I was feeling pretty comfortable, but I´m starting to feel comfortable here too. It´s fun to live with other elders compared to just my companion and I.
Talk to you next week!

Love, Elder Church

Caico Week 6

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Elder Church and Elder Fernandes
Making pancakes with my English class

Well here´s the big news for the week: I got transferred out of Caico. I couldn´t believe the news when I heard it on the phone! I wasn´t expecting to leave after just 6 weeks. It came out of nowhere for me! This was my first transfer week and this is how it goes: the assistants to the president call us on tuesday night to tell us if we´ll be staying or leaving, and those who are being transfered have to leave early wednesday morning. Last night we were in a members house with some of the other sisters in our district, and we got the phone call at around 9pm. Everyone was hovering around the phone to find out who would stay and who would go. I found out that I would be transferred to an area in Natal. A couple of other sisters in our district got transferred too, and our zone leader as well. I got on a bus this morning and arrived here at around 3pm. I haven´t unpacked my suitcases yet. My companion is Elder Delgado. He´s from Peru and he has 1 year and 3 months so far on his mission. I haven´t gotten to know him very well yet, but I like him a lot! He´ll finish my training since training lasts for 12 weeks.
I was definitely sad to leave Caico. I felt like I had been getting to know the area and the members really well. Elder Fernandes and I didn´t have a baptism in that transfer, but we were teaching some really good people in the days just before I left. We had some investigators at church on Sunday and we had found a good family too. I have lots of great memories from my first area and I wish I would have taken more pictures. Maybe I´ll go back to that same area sometime later in my mission though! I was also excited for the Caico Stake conference that I would have gotten to go to on the 21st. Elder Costa is traveling there, and so is the mission president and another member of the seventy.
My new area is really pretty. It´s a lot greener here and the weather is cooler. Our apartment is nice but it´s really small, or at least a lot smaller than the house was in Caico. We live with two other Brazilian Elders.
I´m excited to work in this new area, but I don´t know anything about it yet! I´ll let you know how my first few days go on my next P-day.

Love, Elder Church

Caico Week 5

Monday, September 8, 2014

We have about a week left before my first transfer ends. I don´t think anything will change for the next transfer though. We had a zone meeting this week. Once a month the zone leader travels to mission headquarters for a day, and then once he comes back, we meet together as a whole zone. Our zone is called the Caico Zone and it has 11 companionships. 6 companionships in Caico, and 5 in other towns. The Caico Zone is the same as the Caico Stake. For this zone meeting we talked about what we need to do to improve, because our whole zone struggled for the month of August. There were only a few baptisms for the whole zone. This month has already gotten off to a better start though. The Caico stake isn´t very strong right now either. Sacrament meeting attendance is very low, for example. The caico ward, the ward I´m serving in, is probably the strongest in the whole stake. But it has plenty of struggles as well. I see a lot of potential in the ward though, and when I´m in meetings like ward council, it seems like things will really start to improve.
This week´s english class was fun! I assigned some of the students to bring ingredients for this week´s class so we could make american pancakes. They make pancakes here, but they aren´t sweetened and they roll them up with meat inside. So we made chocolate chip pancakes and they turned out well.
We found some solid investigators last week and were able to teach them a couple of times. Their names are Pedro and Lucas, they´re both 15, and they both seem sincerely interested and willing to keep commitments.
One day last week, we decided to walk to a small town an hour away to see if we could find people to teach. There was only a small group of houses though, and nobody was outside, so we didn´t stay for very long. Maybe I´ll go back sometime to take pictures because it was a cool-looking place!

Things are going well out here and the weeks are moving by quickly.

Love, Elder Church

Caico Week 4

Monday, September 1, 2014

I´ve almost been in my first area for a month! Things are continuing to go well and I feel like I´ve gotten pretty well adjusted to life here.
One of the highlights of this week was going to a chorrasco (barbecue) at the Bishop´s house. Chorrasco is a big deal here- there are lots of street venders that sell it.
Well it´s getting to the time of year in Utah when the weather gets really nice. Unfortunately I don´t think that will happen here, ever. That´s not true actually because the weather is very nice during the evenings and nights. There´s always a nice cool breeze at night. But I like the heat just fine. Occasionally it will be overcast during the day. One time I even felt a few raindrops, but that was it.
We´ve still been having a hard time finding success in the neighborhoods we work in. We had a baptism of a 15-year-old boy planned for yesterday but it ended up falling through. I think the best thing we can do is work with the members. The best investigators we´ve had so far have been references from members. I think I say this in every email, but the members here are great! One thing I do to try to get to know the members is learn names. Even though I can´t communicate very well, if I learn someone´s name, I think it means a lot to them.
English class is still going well! There are about 10 students that come every time, and sometimes they bring friends.
I love serving in the ward I´m in, and I hope I get to stay in this area for a while.

Love you, family! Have a great week!

Elder Church