Rio Branco: Week 2

Monday, December 28, 2015

I loved the skype visit too. That´s good that you didn´t cry. We got back in safety late last night and today has been a busy day- so busy that the only time i´ve had to write all day is now. Yesterday Elder Tavares got a little trunky because there were buses going to recife at the bus station. I was thinking about how much had changed since the last call in may. It´s true that I´ve gotten to be more focused since then and I´ve improved in the language too. On last mother´s day I was still a junior companion and I had no idea that I would be here now. I am definitely having great experiences here and I am finding parts of my patriarchal blessing useful. I am learning lots and I hope that I can take full advantage of my last 5 months (wow, is that really only what´s left?). My first Christmas was a little harder when I thought about how great christmas was at home and how different it was here (in northeastern brazil and on the mission). But this year I was able to enjoy it a lot more because I was a lot more focused on the work. Well i´m looking forward to being able to spend a future christmas in Colorado! I hope christmas was great for you all. I had never realized that our family was so blessed until coming here. Christmas is much more of a normal day for most families here. Lots of the kids and youth here don´t get any christmas presents, or if they do just 1. Not that it´s sad for them because that´s what they´ve always been used to. Christmas isn´t as big of a tradition for some people here. But i´m so grateful to have been born into a family that not only has the gospel, but has conditions to be able to give a comfortable life to their kids. I´m also glad that our family always has reunions and spends lots of time together- both in our own home and with extended family.
But have a great new year´s week and a great time together!!! I love you all and I pray for you.

Elder Church

Rio Branco: Week 1

Monday, December 21, 2015

the neighborhood that we live in
Me with Tavares and Z Clark in the airport
dinner at the president´s house!
a part of my area right next to the beach! 
Me, elder Sales, elder Gonzalez and elder Tavares
It has been a busy week!

The first few days I had to learn a several new things like organizing travels and everything for the transfers. One of the best parts was going to the airport to receive the newly arriving group! It reminded me of my first day a year and a half ago. There were quite a few changes in the mission this week because 16 went home and only 8 arrived. Of the 8, there were 5 brazilians, 1 american, 1 hispanic, and 1 from cape verde. We gave training to them when they arrived and that night we had dinner at the president´s house. It was actually the first time that I went to his house because when I arrived, my group was so big that we had dinner at the church.

To answer your questions. I was a little surprised too when I was called. Not that I didn´t have interaction with the president, but it was just normal. And yes I had been ZL for a just a few months. My companion is Elder Tavares who is the other AP. No, we don´t have cars unfortunately but when we travel it´s by taxi or bus. We live in a neighborhood called Tirol which is the nicest neighborhood that I´ve ever seen here! Our area is really big and we work in a part that is on top of a big hill. Yeah I am in Elder Z. Clark´s spot who went home this week. I took advantage of the few days I had with him to try to learn all I could. He was a great missionary and was an assistant for 1 year. I had seen him a few times before the mission at BYU but I had never met him. But we have a few friends in common. But anyway, on thursday he went home!
My typical week won´t change that much. We still have a normal area to work in. Each assistant has a Junior companion too. When we can´t stay in the area, they stay working in it. So my companions are Elder Tavares from Recife and Elder Sales from São Paulo. A few weeks of the transfer we go to other areas to help. We are in the mission office on Sunday nights and Mondays. On Sunday nights we get the numbers from the mission. So we don´t have p-days, but we spend Mondays in the office on the computer or in a meeting with President.

I am in the Rio Branco ward which is in kind of like the "downtown" part of Natal. We live pretty close to the church. The Bishop here is a recently-returned mission president and was also President Soares´ companion on their mission many years ago. I´m not quite sure what we will do for Christmas this year but it will be good! I opened the package this week and I really liked the Christmas tree!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Hope it´s a great week. Oh yeah, we need to organize the skype call. It will probably be in the afternoon- like 3 or 4pm my time and 11 or 12 your time. I´ll see if I can get you more details. Maybe it will be as early as 2 my time. I´m not sure. But I love you all!!

Panatis: Week 12

Monday, December 14, 2015

Are there really only 10 days until christmas? Man, it´s coming up soon. I did get your package today! I´ll open it pretty soon. I already got Grandma and Grandpa´s package. You guys love me too much! I was lucky to get double presents this year. Well I get impressed every week to hear about my awesome brothers and sisters at home. Glad they are doing well. I´m sad I won´t be able to participate in the sibling gift exchange, but we did one here in our district so that makes up for it.

Well our week was good. We had our christmas conference this week (a little early this year). It was lots of fun to see all of the presentations from the zones. Our zone did a pretty great one: "Meet the missionaries" - parody of meet the mormons. We got santa claus costumes and everything and it was pretty well done hahaha.

The work went well this week. We really only work with our recent converts because they are the best sources of baptisms! We have a couple of awesome young men that introduce us to all of their friends. It makes me really happy to see that Daniel is excited to be a missionary in the future. His cousin was baptized yesterday and he was interviewed to receive the priesthood and will baptized one or two of his other cousins next week. The only sad part is that I won´t be there to see it.

So, I had a little transfer this week. The real transfer day is on Wednesday but I got a call a little early and am already in my other area. One other thing- I already know that this will be my last area on the mission. And, oh yeah, no more p-days for me! Have you guessed yet? Maybe you won´t believe it because I haven´t really started to believe it either but I was called to be Assistant to the President.

Anyway, I´ll get going now but I´ll write more next week! I´m getting used to things here but it will be great.

Love you all!

Elder Church

Panatis: Week 11

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dear mom,

Wow that´s exciting to hear about all of the changes in our house. It´ll be fun to see the family room when i get back.

We had stake conference yesterday. One of the highlights was seeing Deybron give a talk! It´s been great to be here in this stake to be able to see his progress after only 10 months of being a member. President Soares was at the stake conference too. We had several investigators to take so we had to pay for a taxi but it worked out! We have our mission christmas conference tomorrow. Every zone will present a skit/presentation and so it should be pretty fun. We´ve been seeing lots of blessings here and we hope they continue as we use our faith by working hard and being obedient.

Yes, Sister Soares was nice to take us on that trip. It was really fun for me because it´s hard to serve in a mission so close to the beach when you can never enjoy it. I´m looking forward to the skype call in a couple of weeks!

Sorry for the short email this week, but I´m doing well here!

Elder Church