Mossoro: week 2

Monday, August 24, 2015

Dear family,

Yes, Bom Jardim does mean good garden. But I don´t really know who came up with that name because it is a desert climate here. But things do actually grow well. It´s hot like southern Utah or Arizona, but it´s slightly humid which lets things grow well. I wasn´t sure what the temperature was actually like here, because I only see it in celcius, but I looked it up and saw that it gets up into the high 90s every single day here! It really is hot. It´s hard going out to work after lunch when the sun is at its hottest. But like I said, it´s been no big deal.

Let me answer your questions. There are quite a few members here. On the list there are probably more than 600. The sacrament meeting attendance is around 130-140. So there´s a lot of room for improvement for retention of new members. But the leaders are concerned about this now and make visits every week. Yes, I´ve had quite a few experiences where I´ve met a long-time inactive member that had moved from another place who probably didn´t have a record. The mission standard is to have 10 lessons with members present per week. We are easily able to achieve this here because there are youth that make visits with us almost every day. But we try to have family nights every once in a while in member-homes and invite investigators. Yes, we usually sit next to investigators in church. But we try to have members sit by them too.

The members here are great. There area lot of youth. This week they had a standards night on friday and it was really well put together. One thing I am impressed with is that this ward has a lot of good activities. Also there is always lunch here! The members take care of us well. The missionaries before I came had recently moved so we have a nice house. The only hard part is that it´s far from the church. But things are going great here! Let me see if I can send a couple of pictures.

Have you ever seen a pomegranate tree? We met someone yesterday that has one in his backyard. He gave us a couple. Also, we had lunch with a member family yesterday that had recently traveled to Utah to visit their daughter. They said that she studies at LDS business college. They went there in April and they said they would show me pictures the next time I go there. Also mom, Daiane told me that she talked with you a little on facebook. That´s cool!

Love you all!

Elder Church

Mossoro: Week 1

Monday, August 17, 2015

Well I was transferred again, this time not too far away. I´m in Mossoró in a ward called Bom Jardim. I only stayed in Assú for a couple of weeks! Like you were saying, the number of missionaries went down so a few areas had to close for now. One of the two sets of missionaries was taken out of Assú. I was transferred together with Elder Bento to here. It´s only an hour away from our last area. Mossoró is a large city and has a stake. It is the second biggest city after Natal. I´m happy to be here because it´s a really great ward and another one of those areas that everyone wants to come to. Right now I´m living with Elder Bento, Elder W. Silva from São Paulo, and Elder Juma from Mozambique. The members of the ward here love to help the missionaries. The church is growing here a lot and the sacrament meeting attendance is really high--around 140. I´m glad that I stayed with my companion because he is really good. I´ve been liking it a lot here so far. But there´s only 1 thing--this city is the hottest city on the mission! Haha, but I´m used to the heat by now. And it´s not that big of a difference.

Here´s a street view of the chapel here- it´s really nice.,+BARROCAS+MOSSORO,+RIO+GRANDE+DO+NORTE+59621-000+BRAZIL/@-5.1669501,-37.3296096,3a,75y,283.25h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m4!1sFMomksatWONcNzqfjY7S9A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x55351be6e3abaf6d!6m1!1e1

Have a great week!
Elder Church

Assu: Week 2

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Now i´m almost at 2 weeks in Assú and I feel like I've already learned the area pretty well. The members here are great and love the missionaries. So much that we have lunch and dinner every day. Yesterday at church I was asked at the last minute to give an 8 minute talk! I was also asked at the last minute to lead the music. The ward here is pretty similar to the other wards I´ve seen here on the mission, except this one doesn´t have a very good attendance rate- 60 or 70. Luckily there are several RMs in the ward that help out a lot. In the city there are hundreds of baptized members but lots of inactives. But this ward is trying hard to reactivate a lot of people. They started a program to make visits every Saturday to inactives in one specific area and we are helping them.

Tomorrow we´ll know what´s going to change with transfers. It´s a possibility that the president might close the other area here because the number of missionaries is going to drop- several are going home and only 1 is arriving.
We are working with a 28 year old man who is ready to be baptized pretty soon- him and his nephew. So we´re pretty excited about that. In my last email I said the church has been here for 8 years- actually it´s been here for 13, it´s only been a ward for 8 years. It just seems like a long time compared to Pau dos Ferros where no one had ever heard of the church. A lot of people here have heard false rumors about the church and everyone here calls us by the Mormons. Because of this, some of the parents here don´t let their kids go to church. But the people here are still really receptive. This week we were teaching a 21-year old guy named Alif. He is extremely smart and is studying medicine. He studies in João Pessoa but is here while school is on break. He was really interested in our message and understood it perfectly. He started reading the Book of Mormon and accepted baptism. But unfortunately we weren´t able to baptize him because he´s going back to school this week. So besides a few frustrating things like this, things are going well here. We´re excited to keep working hard.

Hope everyone is doing great at home and that the sun isn´t has hot there as it is here! haha.

Elder Church

Assu: Week 1

Monday, August 3, 2015

This week a little surprise happened. I was doing great in Pau dos Ferros, waiting for the end of the transfer to come in a couple of weeks, when suddenly an emergency transfer happened. Another missionary had broken his foot and was sent home with about 3 months of his mission remaining. So I was sent in his place. And a few other elders also moved around. So I suddenly had to pack my suitcases and leave the next morning to Assú, another interior city. I was really sad to leave but I tried not to let it affect me. Assu is a city of more than 50,000 people and it´s close to Mossoró. This is a good area too, but it´s been such a big change. The elders here hadn't been able to work very much lately because of his broken foot. My companion is Elder Bento from São Paulo. I had met him when I went to train Elder Oliveira because he´s from the group that arrived on the mission a month ago. One of the good things is that I´m here living with Elder Wilson, who was one of my past companions. There are two sets of missionaries here. One of the things I miss about my last area is that the church was new there. The church has been here in Assú for 8 years, so most people here have already heard of it and talked to missionaries.  But I´m excited to work hard this month and baptize in this area.

The ward here is good, but there are a lot of inactive members and also some problems with the members. This week had some challenges because we had several people lined up to go to church, but when Sunday morning came, everybody had excuses of why they couldn't go. The mission standard is to have 3 investigators in church every Sunday. We didn't have any, but then suddenly some members arrived late with two nonmember friends. We still needed one more. So about 15 minutes before sacrament meeting we went out searching for someone. At the last minute, we found a kid that lived near the church and brought him.

This week has been a little hard for me because I miss my last area so much. I heard from my companion just now that they were able to baptize a family there on Sunday, as well as two other people! People that we had been working with for a while. The family is the parents of the young man we baptized. The ones that are in the picture that I sent a couple of weeks ago- the family that made the cake for him. It´s sad that I couldn't stay there for at least the rest of the transfer!  But I'm trying to stay happy and excited here.  Thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers. Have a good week!

Have a great week! Love you all,

Elder Church