Nova Natal Week 6: Starting my 3rd transfer

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We found out late last night that Elder Delgado would be transferred! We were all expecting it though because he had already been in the area for nearly 6 months. He didn´t want to leave though because things were going pretty well. He got transferred to the interior for the first time on his mission. This morning I went to the bus station with him and then picked up my new companion, Elder Gomes. He is Brazilian and has almost 9 months on his mission. I can already tell that he´ll be a great companion.

The parents in the family we are teaching haven´t gotten married yet but they are close. The marriage will be in the church and the relief society president and others are helping to plan it and possibly provide a dress for her. On Saturday we had the baptism of their Daughter, Maria Clara. She is great friends with the other girls her age in the ward that live near her which is great to see! She might have already friends with them before. Her 9-year old brother wasn´t baptized yet because he´s afraid of water.

Now I´ll answer some of your questions

Typical daily schedule?
We stay in our apartment in the mornings doing personal, companion, and language study. We usually leave the house an hour before lunch and make some contacts on the street. Instead of having 1 hour for lunch and 1 hour for dinner, we have our lunch break from 12-2pm and then work until 9 or 9:30 at night. Nothing really functions in the city between 12-2. Most people are either having lunch or sleeping. We usually have plenty of teaching appointments to fill up the day, but lots of times the people aren´t home so we have to change plans.

Favorite things about the culture? The people here are great and it´s easy to make contacts. They are very nice and it´s easy to get people to accept visits in their home.

Things you took for granted in America? Sometimes we go days without having water in our house. We always have drinking water in 5 gallon jugs, but sometimes we don´t have water in the faucet or shower.

Most important thing you have learned so far? I feel like I´m learning a lot about getting along with companions. A lot of times you are really different from them but you have to learn how to work together to have success. I have liked my companions so far though.

Have you and your companion been able to bring more investigators to Church? Yes, except for last Sunday because everyone had to vote in the election.

Do you find they have a lot of questions about what they learn and observe in Church? Most investigators say that it is really different from any other church here which is definitely true. All the other churches here seem to have lots of noise and loud music, etc.

Are members good at coming up to them and helping them feel welcome?
Yes, the members here are great at reaching out and being friends with them. This is really what´s helping us most in the work.

Have a great week and a fun Halloween. I´ll write to you on Monday!

Love, Elder Church.

Nova Natal Week 5

Monday, October 20, 2014

The work is progressing here a lot. We´ve been working with a family of 4 this week. They have two kids- 9 and 11 years old. They have showed a lot of interest from the beginning in being baptized and joining the church. The main problem is that the husband and the wife aren´t married. But we´ve been working through the process with the ward member that helps people to get married and have almost completed all of the steps. They have come to church twice already and liked it. There´s a family of members that live near them, and this week we asked them to have a family night with us and the family we are teaching. It ended up going really well and the bishop was there too! It´s possible that they could get married on Saturday and have the baptism on Sunday. We´ll see how it goes. We´ve been blessed with finding quality people to teach. The members are also being a huge help to us. On most days we have a member go out finding and teaching with us for a few hours. They really like helping and they usually ask us when they can help. There are always challenges here too, but for the most part things are going smoothly.

Talk to you next week! (next wednesday because it will be transfer week)

Elder Church

Nova Natal Week 4 - Baptism yesterday!

Monday, October 13, 2014

We had some great things happen last week! Especially yesterday- 6 investigators came to church and one of them was baptized. It was cool for me to see an investigator progress from our first visit with him all the way until baptism. His name is Gutenberg and he will be a firm member. He has already been to church and other activities several times. He´s starting to make good friends with people in the ward which is good. He was always a really solid investigator and I was excited to see him finally get baptized. I´ll attach a picture.

We were also blessed at the end of last week to find a great family. We had been working hard all day on Thursday but hadn´t had much success. It was hard for me to not get discouraged. But at the end of the day we went by the house of a lady we had talked to once. This time her husband was home and we gave them a short message. They had heard of the church and they had a cousin who used to be a member. They were receptive to our message, and they asked what they would have to do to become members. So we told them about baptism and they accepted. One problem is that they´re not officially married (lots of people here consider themselved married, but aren´t married legally- I think it´s mainly because of the cost). Luckly there´s a member in the ward that knows how to get couples married for free. But they are really interested and they came to church yesterday. They brought one of their three children and also came with a neighbor who we are teaching. The gospel principles class was full yesterday and one of the members did a great job teaching it. I´m happy right now with the progress we´re seeing and I can definitely feel that we´re being blessed. I´m working well together with my companion too. This week, one of the brazilian elders who we are living with got transfered unexpectedly out of are area because there were a couple of visa waiters that came into the mission. He was replaced with Elder Wilson who served in the Washington, Spokane mission for a year. It´s nice to finally be living with an American- not that the other missionaries aren´t great as well.

Thanks for always keeping me in your prayers! I´m liking my area a lot and the work is going well here.

Love, Elder Church

Nova Natal Week 3

Monday, October 6, 2014

Last week went by quickly because we had a mission conference on tuesday and general conference on saturday and sunday. So only 3 full days of work. And on one of the days we did a service project all morning. It was a great week, but our numbers weren´t very high because we didn´t have as much time as usual to work.
The mission conference was great! It was with all of the zones in the Natal area (a little over half of the mission). I got to meet lots of missionaries for the first time. President and Sister Soares spoke to us and gave us training. There really aren´t a whole lot of American missionaries in this mission. I think I´ve met most of them by now. Maybe there are some others waiting for visas. For some reason, a lot of the American missionaries are from the southeast US- texas, tennessee, alabama, florida, virginia, etc. But it seems like most of the missionaries in this mission are Brazilians which I think is awesome. Driving back from the mission conference I got to see the beach for the first time.
I loved general conference. I got to watch it in English in a room with the other Americans which I was grateful for. I liked Elder Scott´s talk a lot. I liked Elder Lynn G Robbins talk too-- and several others, but those are just a couple that came to mind now. I didn´t get to see all of priesthood session. They broadcasted it at 7am on Sunday morning, but the stake center is a 40 minute walk away so we didn´t go. But we borrowed our neighbor´s computer and watched part of it live on Saturday night.
Right now we have a couple of solid investigators, but they still need some time to prepare for baptism. We have found several good street contacts that we´ll need to go and teach this week.
Things are going well and I feel like I´m able to have a big influence on the way we do work here which I´m happy about. I didn´t have much of a say in things with my first companion. Elder Delgado and I still have lots to learn and improve on in the way we teach, find, etc.
I felt like I was at home again while watching General Conference this weekend. It brought me back to our tradition of watching it together in the family room. I miss you guys lots!

Love, Elder Church