December 9, 2008

So I should be a lawyer, huh? That's interesting. It certainly is an awful lot of school. You know, I'm not as smart as you may think I am. I've discovered through being a District Leader that I'm actually retarded. If I were to become a lawyer, what exactly would I do while I'm going to law school? The more I think about it, it doesn't sound like a happy time for me. It sounds like my wife leaving me because I have no money and I'm bald. The thing is, I want to either work with my family, or do something that gives me plenty of time with my family. I could see myself having a little business with my wife, and when the kids are little they can help out, and when they're older we can pay them. I can kind of see myself being a teacher. I might really hate that though. I know I want to study history when I get home. As for where (after MCC), I haven't the slightest idea. I don't know anything. My mind doesn't work anymore. Someone asked me where I'll want to eat the day I get home, and I thought about it and I couldn't come up with an answer! (By the way, I would really like to know everyone's opinion on that question.)
I don't have much news in regard to Planaltina. Not much has happened this week. I did a nice trade with one of my Zone Leaders. I learned a lot. We found a lot of families. I'm afraid of being called as a Zone Leader. I'm actually thinking I'm going to be released as a District Leader this next transfer. I can't say it wouldn't be a relief, but I've certainly learned more in these last two transfers than at any other time in the mission.
Please tell Chelsea that I love her very, very much. It will amaze her how soon I'll be home.
I had pictures this week from our District Meeting with our Santa hats on but this internet place doesn't have any usb plugins for my camera. All the computers are hooked up together in this other room and I don't want to bother anyone. I'll send them next week. I'll also give you guys the phone call information next week. I'll try to make it so we can talk from a member's house. I'll even try to find a member who speaks English so you can do your little test call, Dad. So excited:) :) :) It's Elder Chacon's first phone call! He seems to think he's not going to cry but I told him he will.
I love you, family!

December 2, 2008

As exciting as it may be withn the Ward to see all the Missionaries coming home I must request that this information be hidden from me. It gives me this rushed feeling of needing to hurry up and get home. I don't like it. So I ask, please don't update me anymore on that kind of thing. Not your fault, it's my fault.
I'm glad all the Thanksgiving food turned out good. Me and Elder O'Sullivan (who is a Missionary who lives in my house and is from Sequim, WA) would like to ask for some sweet potatoes in the mail. IF ONLY! We tried to have a little Thanksgiving feast in our apartment but it really stunk. We had this chicken stuff. No good. The juice was good though. I drink a lot of juice in the Brazil, you know. It's tasty and I need the vitamins to help my hair loss.
About what you said in regard to the ways the Lord is preparing me for things... the thing that makes me the happiest about having served a mission is the way my work ethic and testimony have grown. President Hinckley said something to the effect of "I can't promise that you will always be happy on your mission, but I can promise you that the learning and spiritual growth that comes on the mission you won't find anywhere else". I can testify of that. I don't know everything, but I can't imagine who I would be had I not come here.
Speaking of this kind of stuff, kind of... I have a question for you, Momma. I've been meaning to ask this for a while now, but I always forget. Do you think I will have a job when I get back? Please don't misunderstand, like I said, I have a much better work ethic now. My motives in asking this are nothing of laziness, rather happiness. I believe that my work ethic will improve and increase even more in the next six months before I come home. HOWEVER, the mission has caused and continues to cause my desire to either be self-employed or work with my family (which I consider nearly the same thing as being self-employed) to intensify significantly. I've made clear many times my reasoning for that, and I hold to the same beliefs today; the mission made that all the more clear in my own mind. Honestly, so much experience tells me that working for someone else (who is not my family) won't be a successful venture for me. So let me know what you think. No pressure.
Dad, you know I'd like/need your opinion on all this as well.
Considering the financial world is heading for ruin and the mansions of the world are soon to be replaced by hoovervilles, I'm anticipating the worst for me in the future. I'm trying to think as President Packer suggests in that talk you guys sent me and get excited about being poor, but I can't help but be a little worried about the future of my children. I don't want them to grow up poor. Therefore, I plan on being a 100% full, honest tithe-paying Priesthood holder for the rest of my life. Important and vital as that is, I know I can't rely on tithing alone; the Lord would surely have me create a plan for myself. I try to do that and I get a little stuck. I want a simple life of quality and integrity when I get home. I know that much. As for how to achieve things, I'm just not sure. I'm retarded I think. For this reason I ask, do you think I'll have a job when I get back?

November 25, 2008

I'm going to have to start praying for Socks now. What a dangerous situation. Coyotes! I would probably kill any coyote that threatens Socks life. Maybe even Josie's life as well. What is she up to these days? I want pictures of these animals. I remember one time Chelsea was giving me a ride home and we got to the gate and she tried to roll the window down and back up as quickly as possible because she was so convinced that a coyote was going to jump in through her window. What's going on in Hockey?
I have VERY little time this week. I'm sorry. I've had a million things to do today. I'm not the happiest I've ever been in the mission. I'm at about my whits end. I've never had such a strong testimony. I've never loved my investigators so much. But I think I'm going insane. I honestly feel retarded sometimes. My mind is a little fried. Not good.
The highlight of this week was our zone conference we had with Charles Didier of the Seventy. That was really interesting. He is a wise man. He's French. He speaks sort of funny Portuguese, but he speaks English without even a trace of an accent. Incredible.
We are teaching some really great families. I love these people so much. They're so great. And none of them can be baptized because they're not married. They love the Book of Mormon. They love the Church. Can't get baptized. We need miracles!!
I love to be a teacher of the gospel, but I don't like the fact that I'm a retarded person right now. It's frustrating.
I love you guys. I'll say more next week. Promise. Send Pictures!!

November 18, 2008

That tattoo is amazing, Dad. I wonder what the Prophet would say about that. I think I know. That reminds me of how much I wish I would have paid attention when we went on family trips to Church historical sites. There's so much about Church history that I want to learn. Thinking back, I honestly cannot believe that I've stood in the Sacred Grove, or on the Hill Cummorah, or in Carthage. I didn't appreciate it at the time. I'll have to go back to all these places. I think I would cry to be entirely honest. My love and respect for the Prophet Joseph and for what he did has increased so much in the last year and a half. I love him. I love the Church and the Book of Mormon and all that so much. It's all true you know.
Here are some pictures. The first is of me and Elder Chacon on his first day in the field at President's house. The second is of Elder Chacon's first baptism. Which, I should specify, was not our baptism, it was the Sisters'. Still special though. Things are going great with my new companion. He's willing to learn and work hard. It's fun to speak in English for once. I've been living with ONLY Brazilians since August. My mind has been so full of Portuguese that when I try to speak English I more just end up speaking Portuguese in English words. Like all the phrases are messed up. I hope that doesn't show in my emails. I'm getting the hang of things again though. I don't think God will let me have an American companion for very long.
Speaking of English, I'll be talking to you guys on the phone in just a few weeks. The exclamation point key on this keyboard doesn't work, but just so you know, it's all exclamation points in my head when I think about my Christmas phone call. There would be about 40 to 50 in this paragraph. I'll try to find a member's house to make things a little cheaper this time. I'll get you that number as soon as I know. So excited.
I feel like I had something else to say, but I don't know what. I'm sure I'll think of it this week.
I love you.

November 11, 2008

How great that Obama won! True, I can't really judge because I don't know what's going on. But still! That's what I felt was right. Dad, thank you so much for being so kind and giving up your vote for me. That's one of the sweetest things anyone has done for me.
I've been missing home a lot this week. For a number of reasons. One thing, we are having a lot of trouble here and trouble makes me miss home. No one was baptized in all of Planaltina this week. There are 24 Missionaries here and we didn't manage to do anything. I had a Mom and her daughter all ready to be baptized, and Sunday morning (day of the baptism) we got to their house and no one was home. we went to their Church and sure enough! The Mom said she wasn't interested anymore, and said the same of her daughter. I did what I could to help, but maybe the Lord just wants to stress to me how much He truly is in control of this work. He can give and he can take.
We've also been having problems with trust between the leaders and the other Missionaries. Luckily my District isn't having any problems besides the fact that we aren't baptizing as many men and families as we could. We are very united, and I'm grateful for that. The members are also having trouble with the Church leaders around here right now. President Pizzirani is frustrated. Things will improve.
I also miss home because I just always miss home. There is too much to miss. As I've said in the past, I'm not homesick. I've never felt that really, which is a blessing. But I do miss home.
That's all. My pants size for dress pants is between 32 and 34. Varies. But either. I just want a really thin material that breathes well. Nothing fancy. Pleets, no pleets, doesn't matter. I'll only be using them for 6 months. Just to let you know, I'm planning on leaving all of my stuff here at the end of the mission. Clothes, bed stuff, luggage. My goal is to come home with just a backpack.
Thank you for sending packages. I'm so excited for the Conference Ensign! Pray for me and my new companion Elder Chacon. American superleftwing indie rock kid from California who talks like a girl and loves Sufjan but doesn't check Radiohead. I'll send pictures next week.
I wish I could say just how much I love and miss you guys. I pray for you and think of you often. Have a great week.

ps: Brazilian rainy season started this week so I'll be getting peoples' floors and couches wet and muddy all day for the next four months or so. It's gonna be great.

November 3, 2008

I feel bad for the Huskies, and for Tyrone Willingham. I'm not sure why we're so cursed but at least you know that when you're at the bottom there's only one way to go.
I'll add my testimony to what was said by Joe Biden. I believe as well that whoever wins will face a problem early on. I also believe that the Lord will prepare whoever wins to face conflicts. More importantly, President Monson is prepared by the Lord. I know that if we'll apply in our lives the counsel he's given us, we'll all be ok. For me, I've told myself that if I'm praying 3 times a day, to now pray 6 times. And so forth. Don't forget the words of President Hinckley ten years ago when he spoke of a dark cloud and strange forces that will loom over the earth in a short time. The horrible economic conditions as of late are most likely a part of that prophecy, and I have to believe there's more to come. Don't forget how and why the Lord spared Jared's family when He destroyed the Tower of Babel and confounded the language of the people in the Book of Ether.
Things are good here. We're finding a lot of good people who like to go to Church by themselves without us coming to get them (which is a relief) and they always love it. Yesterday we had a very spiritual fast and testimony meeting. Everyone was in tears. It was beautiful. But no one wants to get married here so no one can get baptized.
Today is transfer day! Elder Cosme is going off to the jungle already, where I've still NEVER been. I don't plan on going anymore anyways. I want to stay in Planaltina. I have no more curiosity to take a 13 hour bus ride to the end of the world where it's 125 degrees everyday and there are flamingos and alligators and LITTLE PINK DOLPHINS IN THE RIVERS (I'm serious, I've heard all about it from several Missionaries). I want to stay here. And I am, for now. I'll be training another new Missionary this transfer and I'll continue as District Leader. I'm excited.
I'm not sure why there was no message from anyone but Michelle this week. Probably because it's Monday. Transfer day is p-day. So remember, every sixth Monday is p-day. The next will be December 15th. I miss you, family. I think about you guys all the time. Send letters and pictures to my apartment. I love you.

October 28, 2008

Although I must admit I'm not as familiar with Geoff and Stacie as I once was, I'm sure they are a very cute couple and will have a nice wedding and cute kids and all that.
This week a building in Arapoangas was approved to be the new chapel for our Branch. We've been using the Planaltina chapel which is a bus ride away and a little bit inconvenient for the members and investigators of more humble circumstances. It will be nice to have our own meetinghouse now, close to home. I think a lot of inactive members will start coming back. I'm hoping the proximity will give a greater incentive to our investigators to be baptized and stay strong in the Church. Last week we brought 12 people, all visiting for the first time, and everyone loved it. But these people also have Churches that they've known for years right across the street from their houses. This new chapel will help a lot. Our Branch President has a goal for us (not just the missionaries, but as a Branch) to baptize 100 people before January.
I've mentioned this before, but I just want to say again what an honor it is to be working in Planaltina. There is nowhere in the world I would rather be than working here for the next 7 months. The First Presidency is aware of our work here and has given us a deadline of SIX MONTHS to have sufficient tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders here in order to have a Stake. I don't know what will happen if we don't reach our goal, I only know that we will. And my dream is that the Stake be announced just before I go home. The Planaltina District is the only District in Brazil that has a deadline to become a Stake. President Monson wants a Temple. God wants a Temple here. So I have no choice but to take this work seriously. I've had to repent of the laziness and bad attitude I've had in the past. I've had many spiritual experiences here that have given me greater faith, and I hope to have more in the future. I've never felt closer to the lord than at this time in my life. I hope I don't die.
This has nothing to do with my motive for working hard, but it's something interesting I wanted to mention... we were told this week of a promise given to us here that from THIS mission (meaning the Aidukaitis/Pizzirani era) there will come several Seventies and one Apostle. I think Elder Day will be the Apostle. Who knows.
I hope you got my other e-mail with my election pick. Let me know how that all works out. I also hope no one is mad at me for my choice. I ALSO hope everyone has a Happy Halloween! What is Socks going to be? I believe the basketball pre-season should be starting this week too. Tell all!
I have to ask for something for the Brazilians. They want candy. So please feel free to send a package full of American chocolate if it's not too expensive or inconvenient. I don't like asking for things (besides pictures). I have to say though, for me, I need pants. My pants are awful. They're all dirty and worn out and have stains that don't come out anymore. I don't look very clean. HELP!
Have a great week! I love you.

October 21, 2008

I don't really have time to say much this week. I'm sorry. My p-days are so hectic now. I'm running around the whole day. But there isn't a whole lot to say about this week anyways. The pictures show the highlights. The woman and the girl in the picture of Carlos' Baptism (his Mom and Sister) will be Baptized this Saturday. Unfortunately they couldn't be Baptized with Carlos this week because they both had emergency female situations that I'm not familiar with. Hildeni (the Mom) said that she was frustrated with her Church and had been praying for days for God to show her another path, and we showed up. The Church is true.
I love you, family. I promise I'll have more to write next week.
Love, Jordan
ps: pictures are here......
#1 Our beautiful Chapel in Planaltina
#2 Hildeni, Carla, Carlos (who was baptized this Sunday!)
#3 Me with my American flag that Eli sent me in the mail
#4 Me with Valentine
#5 Me with Elder Leite (who wanted me to tell you guys thank you very, very much for sending so many nice things to a poor Brazilian who you don't even know)
#6 Me with the second Counselor CHILLING at Presidente's house before lunch on Sunday

October 14, 2008

Worry not, Mother, I'm being very well fed. There's a restaurant in Planaltina that gives a discount to the Missionaries. We eat there a few times a week. It's amazing food. There is a thing called "churrasco" (shoo-ha-sko) here in Brazil that I'm going to miss so so SO much when I leave. It's like barbeque, only better. Dave Larson and President Cardon certainly know what's up. I'll have to eat at the Rodizio Grill a lot next summer. I imagine the food will be one of the hardest things to part with when I come home. But it'll be nice to be back in a place where there is more variety and food is less expensive. A donut in Brazil is 8 reais, or 4 dollars.
I love fast Sunday. I went to two Sacrament meetings this last week and bore my testimony both times. I have no idea how I'm ever going to speak in Church if it's not in Portuguese.
I would give you guys a synopsis of my daily life if it wasn't so unexciting. People think missionary work is all miracles and incredible spiritual experiences--and that is some of it--but there is a lot of walking from place to place and asking for directions and people not being home and, in my area, a LOT of dirt and mud. So I try to only mention interesting things in my e-mails. And I realize those things aren't always that interesting.
Oh here's something. this week the four of us were all asleep in our room at about midnight when a rock come flying through our window and got glass all over our beds. Nobody was hurt, but it startled the H out of me. Satan doesn't want the missionaries to sleep well. The next day we talked to a 16 year old kid walking down the street and invited him to go to church. He went, and liked it a lot, and now he is going to get baptized next week. I'm pretty excited. We're hoping his Mom and Sister get baptized the next week.
I have to say, I'm so honored to be in Planaltina. I've been here on and off in my mission, and this is where I want to stay until I'm done. We need to work hard and baptize a lot of people here. Particularly men. We need 60 tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders in the Planaltina District to have a Stake. The District President, Leandro (who was also one of President Cardon's missionaries and one of President Aidukaitis' companions), was telling me on Sunday that he was talking to Pres. Aidukaitis on the computer and he had mentioned that President Monson sent him (Pres. Aidukaitis) a message asking "How's Planaltina?" President Monson is very aware of Planaltina and the fact that a Temple in Brasilia (which would serve the entire interior of Brazil) depends on this District. There are currently 11 Stakes in and around Brasilia. We need 12 to qualify for a Temple. It all depends on Planaltina. It all depends on 60 men. If only the world knew how important this is and how close we are! The PROPHET wants a Temple here, GOD wants a Temple here. There is no Mission President in the world more closely watched than President Pizzirani.
As it turns out, I've got even less time to work here than I thought. I found out this week that my last transfer is going to be a 5 week transfer. So I'll be coming home on May 27, 2009. A week earlier. That can be good news and bad news. Sometimes I'm REALLY excited to go home. Sometimes I'm kind of bummed.
Dad, I'm not able to use any websites besides myldsmail and the Church site for missionary referrals. So I'm not able to do the voting online thing. Today I sent you back the form you sent me to get ready to vote. As soon as you can, send me the ballot at my apartment address and I'll send it back priority.
I'm glad to hear the Stock Market is slowly repairing itself. Is everyone poor now in the US? All I hear from people here is that everything is in ruin in the States. I don't know what's going on. I hope I can find work when I get home. At least for now I have a good job.

I love you family, I miss you always, Jordan

October 7, 2008

This week I got all four boxes that you guys sent. Thank you so much. Particularly the shirts, I was needing new shirts very badly. The food mostly goes to the Brazilians. (I only have Brazilians in my district!) A can of Pringles is 10 reais here, which is out of control crazy, so they are appreciative very much. For the abundance of peanut butter M&M's too. Give thanks to Gma & Gpa Hoon as well. I think I will write them a letter today. Summer 2009 is going to be so great with them in AZ. I'm excited.
I watched all four regular sessions of Conference in Portuguese for the first time in my life. It was good but sometimes the translator would speak really fast and it was hard to understand, and I missed so much hearing the voices of the First Presidency and the Twelve. I have to hear Uchtdorf talking about the FATHALAND in his own voice! It's just not the same.
President Aidukaitis' talk was so great. I felt like I was in zone conference. I was so happy to see him. I loved what he said about people who don't read the Book of Mormon: "Not reading the Book of Mormon is like getting a letter from your father and not even opening the envelope". Classic. I love that man.
He told me the story of his father's conversion once in an interview. He mentioned that he still keeps in touch with the son of the missionary that baptized his father, who lives in Salt Lake City. President Aidukaitis' father was that missionary's only baptism in three years of missionary service. He returned home feeling like he hadn't done anything and that his mission had been served in vain because he discovered that that one baptism had fallen away from the Church a short time after his baptism and supposedly that was that. However, years later another missionary showed up at Antony Aidukaitis' house and invited him to repent and come back to church. He did, and never again fell away. From that there has come two Mission Presidents (Brasilia, and the other one in Salvador), a Stake President and now one General Authority. Think of how many people have come from their service, and the service of the people whose lives were changed because of them, and their posterity. Incredible!!
The talk that was most touching to me was Jeffrey R Holland's talk about the Ministry of Angels. As he spoke about how there are Celestial Angels and Mortal Angels it made me remember all the ways I've been helped in my life. As I fasted and prayed to receive answers to questions in my life at Conference, I felt comfort and increased faith that I would truly find what I was seeking. I can testify that I received a very clear response to a question I had from the Prophet himself, in his last talk on Sunday afternoon. It was wonderful. As always, as soon as possible, please send the Ensign of this Conference. I'm dying to re-read everything!!
I miss you guys more than ever. I can't wait to see you again. I hope you know how fast the next 8 months is going to pass. We'll be talking on the phone in just two and a half months. Exciting!!
Lots of love,

September 30, 2008

The rumor around the mission is that ELDER MARCOS A. AIDUKAITIS is going to be speaking at the Saturday morning session of Conference this weekend. As AMAZING as that would be, I accept that it's only a rumor and probably isn't true. Although I do think he'll speak, I just don't know which session. There was another man called to the First Quorum of the Seventy whose name is Godoy (I forget his first name), who was companions with President Aidukaitis in their Mission. Look for him to speak as well. I'm hoping to hear one of the two. Dad, I don't know how you give your Priesthood lessons knowing that Wilford Cardon is there. I wouldn't be able to handle it. I have such incredible respect for him. I have no idea how I'm going to shake his hand or give him a hug or whatever when I get home in what is now 8 months.
Being a Trainer and District Leader is pretty legit. I was all worried about it but it's all good now. I had my first District Meeting yesterday and it all worked out just fine. My Zone Leader is Elder Camacho who is a nice guy, he helps me a lot. Elder Day (who is now an Assistant) did a trade with my companion while I worked with Elder Wright, one of the other Assistants. That helped me so much. I'm learning all kinds of things. It's great. I'm so grateful for all of these wonderful missionaries who help me.
My "son" is Elder Cosme. A Brazilian from Fortaleza, which is in the northeast of Brazil. He speaks extremely fast so I'm trying to help him calm down. He's great though. He's adapting well. He's the only member of the Church in his family and is EXTREMELY happy to be on a mission. It's so much better training a Brazilian than it would be training an American, I think.
This week was busy. We worked a lot. We have to talk with everyone in the street (ALL fathers with kids and ALL families is our goal) because we started with nothing. We're getting by. We're trying to teach at least 50 people a week. We're finding good people. MEN AND FAMILIES...what we need to have a Temple here. There is another dupla of missionaries here to help us. Elder G Goncalves and Elder Reis. Everyone in my District is Brazilian. There is a dupla of sisters in our District as well, who work in a different city. One of them, Sister Cavalcante, had to go back to Sao Paulo for a few days this week because her Dad died. She watched the funeral and then flew right back and went straight back to work. I interviewed a 15 year old kid to be baptized. That was interesting. I was afraid I would say something that would make him not want to get baptized, but it all worked out. He was baptized. It rained like crazy this week after six months of NO RAIN. There's no asphalt here so we were up to our shins in mud. It was great. Elder Cosme was loving it. We brought an ELECT family to church this week. They loved everything, they already want to be baptized. We just have to help the parents get married first. No one here is married.
We have a somewhat small branch here. There were 60 people at church this week. That's better than some places I've been. My first week in Cabeceiras there were 10 people at Church, including the missionaries. I like it here. We have a great Branch President. I gave a talk in Church this weekend about repentance. My companion had to give a talk too, on his first Sunday in the field! He also had to give the Gospel Principles class. He's a great missionary. Extrememly obedient, and loves to work. It's awesome.
That's all for this week. I'm sorry to hear the economy is in ruin. But good to know Gma D took good care of her money a few months ago. The Lord is responsible for that, without any doubt. I hope things are ok when I get home. I'm gonna need a job. For now, I don't know my apartment address here yet, but I'll be sure to get that to you next week. P DAY IS NOW TUESDAY. President is changing all kinds of things, it'a good though. No pictures yet, but next week!
Keep me updated on my fantasy football team!
I love you family,

September 22, 2008

Travis Barker?? Crazy. God did not allow him to die because he is (a)an incredible drummer and has much yet to accomplish (maybe even a Blink 182 reunion??????) and (b)because he is a baptized member of the Church and maybe this experience will bring him back. Who knows.
That's too bad about the stock market and Bolivia and all that. It's all interesting from my point of view because I'm far away from everything and nothing happens in Brazil. Part of me thinks it would be fun to be evacuated from my mission to another country. Remember when I told you about President Aidukaitis giving us those instructions about emergency evacuation from Brazil? The same instructions are given to missionaries the world over. Amazing to think that somewhere they actually had to use it.
The map of Obama/McCain states is great (yes, it showed up) and now I'm curious to learn more about each of them. I need your help, family. I want to make an informed vote. The debates will be tight, I'm bummed I'm missing out.
But there is plenty to report on in the mission today. Today is transfer day, my entire group has gone crazy. Along with several others in the mission. FIRST OF ALL, I'm leaving Villa Planalto. I'm opening a new area called Arapoangas where there hasn't been missionaries before, and there I'll be District Leader AND I'll be training a new missionary. It's a little crazy but I'm confident I'll do well. I'm kind of glad to be leaving Vila Planalto, but I'm a little sad because I love the Ward here. I'll miss the Elders Quorum. It's amazing here. Best Quorum in the World! Only deep doctrine. Amazing. Sad. BUT Arapoangas is part of the Planaltina zone! My dreamland! So I'm happy to be going back there finally. Elder Valentine is also going to be District Leader and trainer. Elder Barton trained last transfer and will probably keep doing what he's doing. And Elder Day was called as an AP. Crazy, CRAZY.
I don't have time to write much else. I'm sorry. I have to pack my bags. Just know I'm excited and happy. Pray for me that I'll do a good job. Send me PICTURES for comfort, please! I love you all.

September 15, 2008

I will certainly say Hi to Brazil from all back home. Speaking of back home, I don't know if I've already mentioned this a few times, but do you guys have any idea if people in our Ward remember who I am? I have dreams that I'm home and I have trouble speaking English and people have trouble remembering my name and who I am. I know Bishop Boyer knows me. People from our neighborhood maybe. Jeff Whiteman (is he still quorum president?), maybe a few others. I don't know. All I know is that when I'm home in 9 months I'll probably be bald and no one will recognize me. Frustrating.
This week I had yet another chance to hear The Reckoner by Radiohead, in a member's house. UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. AMAZING. I left floating out of the house. Seriously. Why is that the only Radiohead song I hear in Brazil? (twice now)
You know something, I'm beginning to see the trend that my mission is taking. I'm beginning to recognize it's form, and how I'll speak of it when it's all over. One of many things that I believe my mission to be is a test of persistence. I've noticed that there are missionaries who baptize everybody, and then there are missionaries who suffer and whose only success is persistence in the absence of success. I honestly believe my mission experience to be that of the latter. I'm not sad about that. I don't think I'm a bad missionary. I don't title myself a failure. The experiences I've had have been essential to my spiritual progression. But one thing I can certainly say is that I count myself among those who have come to know Satan very well. My mission at large has been an experience of recognizing the other side and the power that exists there. I can honestly say with all the fervor of my soul that Satan and his angels who work round the clock in Vila Planalto have incredible influence, and that I have no choice but to testify of it's reality. It requires strict obedience to combat. I know that the forces of Satan are real, and I know all the more that the power of the Priesthood is real as well.
This week in our Elders Quorum we learned about the Plan of Salvation. Rather than going into depth about the spirit world and degrees of glory, we reviewed quickly the basic doctrines and began to discuss what needs to be done by each of us to obtain celestial glory. The man who used to be the Stake President here was teaching our class. He mentioned that there were several occasions during his ten years as Stake President that he had the chance to be trained by Apostles. At least once a year there was a training given by one of the Apostles to all Stake Presidents and Mission Presidents in the area. This man told us that the most impressive training of all of them, for him, came from Elder Richard G. Scott. He said that in this training Elder Scott taught a lot about the Priesthood and the importance of magnifying it. Part of magnifying your Priesthood means overcoming obstacles. Elder Scott asked those present if they would like to know one of his weaknesses. What he said was impressive and touching to me. He told them that every time he has to travel to another place in the world to have meetings or trainings or whatever else, when he checks into the hotel, the first thing he does is he takes a towel from the bathroom and puts it over the TV, and then places a framed picture of his wife on top. He said, "I do this because I know I am a weak man". He went on to say that he had already known a number of general authorities who had fallen because of situations as simple as this. They get to the hotel and are watching TV after their meetings and something pornographic just happened to come on and they ended up losing control. An example of the power Satan has, and that his influence is real. Even amongst the general authorities. Their level of testing is significantly greater than mine or anyone else in our family. It must be unbearable, but somehow they pass the tests. If they didn't, the Church would be in ruin.
This week in my interview with President Pizzirani, I was telling him about some of the difficulties we've been having lately. he taught me something interesting about Satan. He asked me where Lucifer is at this very moment. Not "the Devil" or "Satan", but the literal spirit of Lucifer. I said I didn't know. He told me "walking alongside Thomas S. Monson". He, Lucifer, concentrates his best efforts on the ONE that he knows if he brings down, he brings down the Church with him, and wins. Lucifer walks alongside the Prophet. President Monson is personally tempted by Lucifer himself. President Pizzirani went on to tell me that Satan literally has a quorum of twelve, seventies, bishops, mission presidents, missionaries. The same organization. One to tempt each one. Imagine the tests given to the Apostles. President also told me that when an Apostle is called, part of his calling is to NEVER sin. Imagine that. NEVER sin. Imagine President Monson. Imagine the horrible things he has had to see. Why do you think they have their meetings in the Temple? Satan cannot enter. He has no influence there. Imagine also the indescribable blessings as well for the fact that these men overcome. That's what is happening in Salt Lake City right now. That is what goes on in the Church of Jesus Christ. How can it not be TRUE? I would doubt it all if I hadn't had experiences for myself that testify of this. And I'm forever grateful for the Prophet and the Apostles. I'm so excited to see them speak in three weeks. I hope everyone else is too. Amazing.
I love you family.

September 8, 2008

Brazilians have this thing about freaking out and going to the hospital when anything goes even slightly awry with the immune system. This last week I ended up getting sick and spending a few days in bed in our EXTREMELY HOT house, drinking water all day and trying to sleep. I had a bad cough (which I still have, although the fever has passed) that kept me from sleeping, which kept me from getting better quickly. By about day 3 my companion was insisting that we go to the hospital. I told him that it was just a fever and I only needed sleep. He still insisted, saying it was absolutely necessary for the doctor to know what was wrong. So I went, but promised him that in the end the doctor would say "tylenol, water, and plenty of rest".
We got to the hospital and waited about an hour to see the doctor. He was a nice guy. Said all was well, that the fever had become a cold and that he wanted to do a blood test just to make sure there wasn't a virus in me. I got my blood taken and then we waited another two hours for the results. Even when I'm in the hospital, sick and with a headache, minding my own business and watching the soccer game like everyone else, Satan still has his servants! This guy, a Jehovah's Witness who had been in a car accident earlier in the day and had been in the waiting room for something like 9 hours, comes up to us and starts yelling at us and telling us the Book of Mormon is false and unnecessary. He started quoting all these scriptures and telling the doctors that they "shouldn't take care of the Mormons!" I told him as politely as I could that I had a headache and maybe we could talk another day. He started quoting some more scriptures and as he walked away yelled "you guys lost with me!" We didn't say anything. just a smile and a thumb's up. Satan works round the clock!
The results finally came back from my blood test and it turns out there was nothing. Just the fever/cold. We went back into the doctor's office where he wrote out a prescription for none other than tylenol, with a suggestion to get plenty of rest and drink water with lime. We made it home by about midnight.
I'm feeling better now. Just the cough is killing me. I didn't sleep last night because of it. Literally, I didn't sleep at all. Despite my prayers, God has yet to cure me. I'm just trying to drink lots and lots of water like everyone including Sister Pizzirani has told me to do, and I believe I'll be taken care of. I've learned on the mission that God won't do for us what we can do for ourselves. He only blesses us once we do everything possible on our own. He provides for the part that we can't do, but expects us to do everything we can. I've learned that when I give a blessing to someone for their health, part of what I say is in regard to the medicine and it's ability to be used in the best possible way by the body, IF the person will take it exactly as the doctor instructed. When we ask God to bless the food we eat, what would be more realistic would be to ask for the sugars and proteins and carbohydrates to be accepted by our bodies in the most efficient way and in the right places so that we can have the best possible health. Obviously just because you bless a banana split doesn't mean that it isn't going to make you fat. Along the same lines, you can't ask God to help you lose weight if you're not going to the gym and trying hard everyday. God isn't a magician. I think all this is very interesting, does anyone else?
I'm way bummed about the Husky game. That call sounds like the WEAKEST. I was upset just reading about it. I'm glad Ditka stood up for the Huskies though. I wonder if that Ref feels bad at all. What's so frustrating is that it's more of a judgement call on his part rather than justly defending the rules. Ugh. I'm so excited to go to a game next season.
MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL......happiest birthday of all birthdays to MOMMA this Sunday!!! Mom, I will try my best to give you a birthday present by baptizing someone on Sunday. That doesn't look very promising for this week, but I'll certainly try my best. At the very least I'll be working hard. If nothing else, at least know I'll be thinking about you on your birthday. I miss you and I love you, Momma. More so even than last year. And next year I'll be home! I'll be sure to spend some time looking at July on my birthday calendar you guys made me. I hope all is well. I hope "IKE" is a little more exciting to watch on TV. Send pictures of stuff! I love you guys.

September 1, 2008

Guess what I'm finally gonna do! A girl in the Ward here named Marciele and I are going to teach a free English class in the chapel. I've always wanted to do that. Should be interesting. Don't worry, my companion will be nearby. Marciele is a babe so I get kind of scared.
Momma, don't worry about the video game thing my old companion was asking about. Don't waste anymore time looking for it. I ended up reading the scripture to him about how "many are called but few are chosen" because "they have their hearts set so much upon the things of this world". I got fed up with Brazilian companions asking me to ask you guys if you could buy something unrealistic like an ipod or a psp. Happens all the time. They want you to buy it, send it to their name here in the mission, then give me the money to send back to you guys. Complicated. And annoying. Elder A. Nascimento asked but I more politely this time explained that I won't do that kind of thing anymore. I mean, ranch and barbecue sauce I don't have a problem with . But a psp?
I'm a little sick right now so I need to get out of this hot internet cafe before I get dehydrated and die.
I wanted to say that I'm sorry if you guys get at all annoyed when I only talk about keeping the commandments and that kind of thing. Maybe it is a little irritating, but I know it's important. I just want you guys to understand that SATAN WANTS TO DESTROY MY MISSION AND MY LIFE. That's become VERY clear to me here in Brazil. And I don't want that to happen to anyone I love. I know the best way to combat him is to be good about the small things. If you are obedient in the small things, you're much less likely to fall due to something big. You're less likely to fall at all. Like I said before, if we would simply reserve no place in our hearts for the desire to sin or break the commandments, Satan has no power over us.
This church is the only true church because it is the only church on the earth that has the Priesthood. We brought a Catholic lady to church last week and when we visited her later she said that it was very similar to her church. She said that one of the talks sounded exactly like what her Padre says. We explained to her that the only difference then between the two of them is that one has authority and other does not. We went on to explain about the apostasy and the restoration of the Priesthood. I felt pretty good about things until we were leaving and the lady's niece stopped us and let us know that she's a little bit retarded:):):):)and has a lot of trouble remembering things and that we should not come back. That was a little bit of a let down, but at the least explains why she didn't understand very well what we were explaining. Dad, I like that phrase you told me about when you don't get what you want, experience is what you get.
In answer to your questions... no it doesn't bother me at all that you guys don't call me Elder. I don't want you guys to call me that. I believe the neck size on my shirts is 16. I am kind of in need of shirts. ONLY short sleeve ones though. One of the biggest mistakes of my mission was bringing all the stuff I brought on the mission. I made a list of things I feel like I absolutely NEED. It came out to about 25 things. And a good number of those things I plan on leaving here. I don't plan on coming back with luggage, just the backpack that I bought here. Maybe a few things in my hands. I was an idiot to come here with three bags. I give everything away.
Do a lot of people still come visit? Does Jonny still lock himself in my bathroom for 15 minutes with the guitar every once in a while? I hope so. Everything sounds great back home. I need pictures! I love you guys. Have a great week. I will pray for Zach, please do the same. He'll come back.

August 25, 2008

Another one of those wonderful, magical weeks where the computer stops working just as I have everything written and ready to send. It's ok. Nothing very important happened this week. Tell Chaz Wright I said good luck. There is an Elder Wright in this mission, he's an AP. Maybe that's a good sign for Chaz. Something I can't wait for is to see the new missionaries that will be going out when I get home. I'm gonna have to talk to President Gulbrandsen about what we do in our stake for missionary preparation. I hated the missionary prep class before I left. We need to get everyone excited about the work, especially the guys that are leaving soon. Trainings and practices and all that fun stuff.
I saw a trailer for a movie called Love in the Time of Cholera that looked amazing. Reminded me how I still haven't seen There Will Be Blood, and how I still haven't heard the soundtrack, and how I still haven't heard In Rainbows. I'm not complaining. I don't mind. But man am I excited for all that when I get home. Ok I need to focus. FAMILIES AND MEN IF WE WANT A TEMPLE.
I got in trouble this week because of the Olympics. The day that the US beat Brazil in women's soccer no one would talk to me on the bus. Then the same thing when we won in volleyball. Everyone here loves Michael Phelps though.
I brought my camera to send pictures but it's taking wayyyyy too long to load. We have to go. I'm kinda ugly anyways. I'll try next week. I love you, family.

August 18, 2008

The other day my companion and I were walking from one appointment to another and we went up the wrong street because I was on the phone with a lady from the Ward and not paying attention. When I hung up and realized we were going the wrong way we stopped and turned around and started walking up a different street. We passed a house where there was a woman outside talking on the phone. She said to the person on the phone "Oh the missionaries are passing by right now". We immediately stopped to talk to her. She hid her face like she'd made an awful mistake. I've learned to just give a REALLY big smile with these kinds of people. She started talking to us and she mentioned that she was a member and had just moved to Vila Planalto. Karina is her name. She started explaining to me in English that she used to live in the US and met her husband there and they were married in the Mount Timpanogos Temple and then moved to Brasilia.
Her husband is a returned missionary. They have two little kids. He's since left the Church and is living in Atlanta while she is here. He has a goatee. They're not divorced but "just kind of separated for now", as she says. Her own faith has been dwindling since her husband decide that Joseph Smith wasn't really a Prophet and wanted to go back to the US to work. She hadn't had much contact with the missionaries or the members of the Church where she was living before moving to Vila Planalto. The day we passed by her house was a Friday and she said that up until she saw us and started talking to us she wasn't planning on going to Church on Sunday. She did go. We've since gone over to her house several times to answer questions for her and help her faith start growing again. She says it has been.
She had me read her patriarchal blessing. Almost all of it talks about marriage and family. Several things had already been fulfilled, but certain blessings she considers revoked or impossible now because her husband left the Church and seems to be entirely uninterested in coming back. This made me remember once again of the importance of family in regards to receiving exalted blessings. It also made me really mad at her husband. We told Karina that now is the time in her life that her faith needs to be at it's highest and her prayers at their most meaningful, so that her husband can come back and her little kids can grow up in the right way. We reminded her that the plan of salvation is perfect and makes it possible for her to still receive all the blessings promised her even if her husband never comes back. But her obvious preference is him. As it would be with anyone I imagine. She wants to be with the one she's been sealed to in the Temple and had her kids with. I left with an even greater resolve to be a good husband and father someday. And that means being a husband and father that lives the Gospel of Jesus of Christ. You can be someone who decides that there is no such thing, or someone who just doesn't take it seriously, and destroy your family's happiness. Or you can be committed and remember that whatever blessings apply to you, apply to your wife and kids.
We baptized a 15 year-old boy named Irivaldo yesterday. He's so great. When we were changing clothes after the baptism he started talking to me about Arizona and how he doesn't want to go there because it's too close to Israel and Iraq and he's afraid he'll die. I'm gonna give him a tie. The baptismal service was really good apparently, according to the three or four people who said so. So I'm happy. The mission is baptizing a lot less these days though. President Pizzirani wants quality and that means families. We just don't seem to have the faith. The mission baptized 17 this week. A sharp difference from 104 per week this time a year ago. Things will get better though. President is burning everyone. He's sending missionaries home like crazy, having meeting after meeting with the leaders, challenging everyone. I'm glad we baptized this week.
Family, send pictures. I miss pictures! I'll send some next week I PROMISE.
I love love LOVE you.

August 11, 2008

I ate a double whopper today, in Brazil, R$17. Amazing. I'm so full right now. I've been doing exercises in the morning that help me feel healthy, but I've definitely gained a little weight this transfer. I think I'm back up to the weight I was at the time I left home. I need to go off to Palmas and the jungle where it's 100 degrees and humid. Elder Tenorio is being transferred there tomorrow. We only spent three weeks together. Strange. My last three companions I've stayed with for less than one transfer. Not since Planaltina have I had a companion for a full transfer. I still think about Planaltina all the time and I wish I could go back there. It's my favorite area. We'll have to go there when you guys come with me to visit after the mission. Although I don't think you'll find it very beautiful. It's nothing really. I love it. But there's nothing to see besides people.
LET'S DO THIS: I'll come home normally, you guys will pick me up at the airport in AZ, and I'll come home and see everyone, Dad and Gpa Hoon and I will take a picture together (if possible), I'll sleep for a while, maybe we'll be cliche' and eat some Brazillian food. I don't know. Then LATER we can come back and see Rio and Sao Paulo and Brasilia and all that. Sound good? You guys can meet President Pizzirani. It'll be fun. I wish you guys could meet President Aidukaitis. Maybe in Utah at Conference but I don't really know how that works.
My new companion will be Elder A. Nascimento. Another Brazilian. I'm excited. I know him a little. He's a good missionary. It's only his second transfer but he's apparently got some major missionary style already. I hope I can teach him some things. I'll probably end up learning more from him. If you guys have ever been at all curious as to where I'm at in regards to the hierachy of the mission, I'm just a normal senior companion. I haven't been made a leader of any kind. Only Elder Day from our group has become a leader.
The mission needs the phone numbers and addresses of Bishop Boyer and President Gulbrandsen. I also need Mom and Dad's cell phone numbers because I've forgoten them:/ so please send those in the email next week.
Other than that I have nothing to request this week. My companion however would like someone to please look and see how much something called a "playstation PSP slim" is in American dollars.
I'm trying my best to be good and be a good example. And I'm trying to do so humbly, not just in a way that people will notice. I don't want anyone to be like the people I teach who think God is really great but they don't ever DO anything. It's so pathetic. I know I am very weak and need to improve all the time. Families have eternal destinies, but if they don't ACT like it they fall short. President Pizzirani taught me that Satan is powerless to do anything so long as you have no desire to sin. So we need to DO good things so that we don't fall into a mess of sinful desires and ruin our lives and allow Satan to lead us by the hand into some false peace. We'll be judged by the desires of our hearts. If the Terestrial Kingdom is the desire of our hearts, and our works prove it, that is where we'll go.
I don't say this to sound like I'm the next apostle or anything, but I really do want so badly to be pure. The pure in heart will see God. The last talk given by President Aidukaitis here was about how to see Jesus Christ in this lifetime. Ever since then I've been trying to purify myself. I hope this doesn't mean I'll come home weird. I don't think so. But I am, nevertheless, trying to be good.
I hope everyone is happy and safe back home, because I certainly pray for it everyday. I love you guys so much and miss you. Send pictures. Lots of pictures.

August 4, 2008

This Thursday I'll have a year in the field. So it's another one of those times of reflection for me. I think of the things that stand out the most. Some easy, some hard, all of which have ultimately been blessings. I've met a lot of people in the last year. Most of them (our investigators, I mean) are not married, but live together with someone. Several of them have been together for years. Some have children, some even grandchildren. They've passed generations together without ever taking the step of marriage. They're afraid of it for some reason. To help, we ask simple questions like "do you love her?" and "do you love him?" and "what would really change if you were married officially?" We promise blessings from God. If they still feel no desire to follow the commandments and get married or separate, we make it very simple for them and ask "if God Himself were to appear to you and tell you that this is a sin and you need to get married, what would you do?" You would be surprised how many of them merely say, "I wouldn't be able to change". We ask them if they understood the question and if they're absolutely sure of their response. Often we simply end the lesson then and there, depending on the person. Sometimes we ask if they feel at all ashamed to admit that they consider their own will to be of more importance than the will of their Father in Heaven. To those who respond "no" to this question, a deep sadness comes into the room. I don't know if they feel it, but we certainly do. On more than one occasion we've asked the investigator to kneel down with us and offer a prayer to God declaring that they are unwilling to comply with His commandments. They don't want to. "Brother, you said you weren't ashamed". The fear of God still dwells within them. It's interesting. When someone's life is being overcome by the inspiration of satan, whose face I've seen and whose voice I've heard, they still must recognize the authority of the Priesthood when it's in the room. Satan is not more than God, he's less. So when light pierces darkness, the darkness cannot deny it.
I get really sad over these people. They talk about God because that's what people do. They pray to be heard by others. They read certain parts of the Bible because they think that simply reading the Bible will save them. Yet they go about breaking several commandments everyday. So many people here don't see themselves as someone having divine potential. They show how truly desirable the Terrestrial Kingdom is to people. I, personally, will not be content with such glory. I know that the Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms are places where I can't be with you guys, so I do what I can to keep myself from setting my course for either of them. It's my love for you guys that I have had, and have now-and will have in the future for my wife and my own children-that acts as a catalyst for obedience.
I recently re-read the talk "Salvation and Exaltation" from last Confrence by Elder Nelson. He states very clearly how and why "salvation is a personal matter, and exaltation is a family matter". As I said I'm not content with anything but the highest degree of glory, because it is there that I can not only live with God and with Christ, but we can also be together as a family. For this reason, I want you guys to examine your course, as I have, and prayerfully decide what can be changed and/or improved. For example, I was reading in the copy of the 2003 journal that Dad sent me. There is an entry that talks about tithing and how it's a difficult thing sometimes. Now I don't know if things are still the same way since 2003, but I'll speak as if they were. Here in Brasilia, part of the reason that the Church has yet to truly consider building a Temple here is because we lack TITHE-PAYING Melchizedek Priesthood holders. It's no small issue in our Ward and Stake, and in many of the Wards and Stakes around here. If the people would pay their tithes and offerings and do it from their hearts out of joy to have the chance to fulfill a commandment of God, without complaint, the Lord would abundantly bless this area. If anyone has any doubts in regard to tithing, I suggest reading the talk entitled "The Best Investment" from last Conference.
Before I could be ordained to the Melchizedik Priesthood, Bishop Boyer told me I needed to be up to date on my tithing. If you'll remember, my settlement came out to about $900. At the time I had about $1000 in the bank. I decided to pay the tithing, and almost immediately within that same week I got two speeding tickets and crashed my car. Instead of being grateful to have been blessed with a good father that has money and who is always more than willing to help when I'm short, I complained and felt robbed by the Church. I've since repented of that and have made a promise to the Lord that I will always pay an honest tithing. As a missionary I'm not allowed to pay tithing. You may not believe this, but one of the reasons I can't wait to get home is so I can pay my tithing! If you do what you can to live close to the Spirit you recognize every little thing you do that isn't in harmony with the will of the Lord. That's a wonderful blessing. And even though I'm not even allowed to pay tithing, God has given me the opportunity to feel bad that I'm not paying it! And, as I said, I've promised that once I can, I always will. If any one of us is in need of doing the same, I suggest you do it. The blessings of exaltation for each individual member of our family very well may be contingent on that. We need to be an eternal family, together forever. We can't settle for anything less.
I think of times in the past when we may have maybe been a little relaxed on keeping the Sabbath Day holy. I've certainly been guilty of that. Anytime we do anything that maybe wouldn't be right with God, let's think of our exaltation as a family together. We can't let anything we do put our future together in the life to come at risk. WE NEED TO BE AN ETERNAL FAMILY!!! NOTHING LESS!!!
Considering it's the end of the transfer this week, send letters to the mission office. We might be moving next week to our real area. Our own house! No more catching four buses a day. Oh man! Maybe, we don't know for sure. When that happens, I'll let you know. I've been taking a lot of money out of my personal account to pay for our bus rides everyday. Elder Tenorio doesn't have any money at the moment. We're hoping this whole thing ends soon and we move to our house. I asked the Brazilians what they would want in a package from AMERICA. They would like (please): Oberto beef jerky, jelly bellies, pringles (any flavor besides original), and more peanut butter because we're running out. Oh and I told Elder de Sousa that peanut butter m&m's are the best and he doesn't believe they even exist, so please send a bag so he can see what's up. I hate asking for stuff.
I love you guys so so much and I can't wait to see you guys again. I'll be home Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 (since you asked). Go ahead and mark that!!!
Lot's of love,

July 28, 2008

Well first of all I'm sorry I wasn't able to write last week. Elder Gailey was emergency transferred and I had to spend the whole day in the mission office while everything got sorted out and we ended up with no time to send e-mail. He wasn't in any trouble. Who WAS in trouble is my new companion. President Pizzirani had he and his companion taken out of the office and two new Elders put in. One of them being Elder Gailey. President had a brief interview with me, told me about the problem and explained that he isn't sending him home because he is a genuinely good person and a good missionary and doesn't deserve to lose his mission over this. He also told me that this would be a challenge for me, but that he trusts me a lot and that I am worthy for such a challenge. So, a man who was a Seventy told me I'm worthy. That's good enough for me. As a result, I have to say I've felt very close to the Spirit this week. My prayers have been long and meaningful and I feel full of the Holy Ghost as I lie down in bed. It' wonderful. My studies have been more clear as well. I'm learning a lot. Part of that learning has been tests in our teaching this week. We have had VERY little fruits. None, basically. Almost no one wants anything to do with us. And those who do only last a lesson or two and then they decide the Catholic church is better for them. I've come to know Satan very well in Brazil and I know when he's walking alongside me, and thus I know better how to defend myself. God wants to see if he can trust us or if we'll give up in the face of adversity. This whole week I've felt something very clear and peaceful telling me to hang on a little longer, don't give up, because the miracle is just around the corner. We have the ability to baptize an entire congregation if it's God's will. But you can never see a miracle like that unless you pay a price first.
I heard a story that in President Aidukaitis' mission (which was in Sao Paulo South) there was an area that was absolutely dead. No baptisms. Few lessons. The missionaries that had worked there were less than enthused about the work. President Cardon believed in it's potential, and decided to prove it. He sent his two best missionaries to that area. One was a zone leader and the other was an assistant, who was President Aidukaitis. When they arrived there the missionaries and members just smiled and told them "good luck", shaking their heads. After one whole month of no fruits, no success, but still working hard, they walked into a church (I don't know which) and sat down. After some time, Elder Aidukaitis was invited to come up and speak. I don't know what was said, but the entire congregation was converted and baptized. Including the Pastor. The sign was taken off the building and the name of the Church put up in it's place, as the newest Branch in the mission.
Thanks for all the happy birthdays. I'm not thinking very much about it but I'm glad people remember me. I got my present in the mail. I don't even know what to say. It's amazing! I was in awe! I was so happy. I look at it all the time. I love you guys so much and I'm so grateful for such a wonderful family. You are so much of my happiness. Thank you. And thank you to everyone that helped. Zach, Hajax, Tim, Chelsea, Annie and Alex & Aaron. AMAZING. Tell everyone that I said thank you and I love you.
I got two other packages as well. Thank you for those. I gave the Leandro Barbosa shirt to Elder de Sousa, who I live with. He is my good friend. He was so happy when I gave it to him he was jumping all over the apartment and acting like he was skateboarding in Sao Paulo again. So happy! That's where he's from, and so is Barbosa (known as Leandrinho in the Brazil). He saw him one time at a mall there and shook his hand. He said he was wearing HUGE pants.
The best thing from those other two packages was Dad's 2003 journal. It's so fun to read. I've nearly finished it already. I cringe when I read about the idiot that I used to be over Sara and all that business. There's plenty of good though. There are a lot of things that I hadn't remembered until I read about them again. Thank you, Dad. Come to think of it, the journal is tied with the bacon flavored chocolate and the birthday card from Lex of the singing cats. AMAZING!!!
Now, you know I don't like to do this but I have to ask for something. Only because I haven't been able to find it myself here. I'd like to ask for a Book of Mormon. In English. Nothing fancy, nothing big. Just new and in good condition. I'd also like to ask for a set of highlighters of a few different colors. Nice highlighters don't exist in Brazil unless you want to pay R$10 for each one. No good. I'd rather have American quality anyways. So that's what I'd like for my birthday.
I'm glad everyone had fun in California. I'm down for next summer. We should TOTALLY get a condo. That would be so much fun. I can get rid of my incredibly defined farmer's tan. Maybe lose some more hair in the sun. Michele and Lex, we go to DISNEYLAND! Mmmkay? All of us. Oh man. OK. Let's think about these things a little later on before I go insane right now.
I love you very very much family, and I miss you all the time. Have a good/happy week. Jordan

July 14, 2008

Today I got my first haircut from a girl in the mission. It was great. She washed my hair and I felt like I was breaking the law of chastity. I'm a little bald now by the way. Any suggestions for how I can keep my hair from falling out?
That's sad about Uncle Brian. I haven't seen him in years. To be honest, I don't actually remember the last time I saw him. But it's sad to think he's gone. Most of all I'm just sad for Jan and the cousins. I hope they are doing well.
Thinking of Brian's passing away leads me to think more of the Temple. Are you guys going to the Temple often? I mean Mom and Dad. If you're not, please make time to go there. There are so many people here that would love to attend the Temple but there isn't one here yet. They have to take two day caravans to get to Campinas or Sao Paulo. Which is nothing difficult, it's all paid for and I hear the trips are always really fun. But think of the convenience we have having a Temple in our own city. And now three more announced not far from us.
Here's the thing about the address... I want to give it to you guys but for the time being we're living in a house outside of our area with other missionaries and we could move at any moment. Our house in Vila Planalto is being used by a dupla of sister missionaries. They work where we are living right now (Asa Norte) but sleeping in our house there. So we're not allowed to be there. As soon as they get a house rented in their area, they'll leave our house and we'll be able to live there and have a fixed address. So, until further notice, please don't hesitate to send letters to the mission office. If you sent them to the house I'm at right now we might end up moving before they get here, and that might be a mess. It's a confusing situation. I haven't been able to unpack my bags yet this transfer.
This week the mission baptized the lowest it's baptized in years: 36. I'm not worried about it though. I don't think it's a bad thing to be honest. President Pizzirani really doesn't want us to just go crazy baptizing little kids all over the place. He wants quality, he wants families. Future Priesthood holders. We had two men in Church yesterday. One named Messias and another named Fernando. They both loved Church and are even more interested now. Messias wore a suit! No one wears a suit their first time in Church here! I had the chance to confirm someone for the first time yesterday during sacrament meeting. I was just sitting in the congregation and they called me up to do it. It turnd out fine. I'm pretty sure he got the Holy ghost.
I would write more but this place charges three reais per hour and I still need to buy groceries. Ohhhh guess what! The grocery store here sells the Milano cookies that are sooo good. They have all kinds of American stuff, it's amazing.
Three packages?? Oh baby. I'm excited.
Have a great week familia. I love you.

July 7, 2008

I wish that everyone would go on a mission so that they could see how deep the love is that they have for their family. Sometimes I just get caught away in my love for you guys. I hope that doesn't sound silly. I think about how there will never be an end to that love and I'm overwhelmed. I miss you guys. I'm not homesick. I've never really been homesick. But I think of you guys all the time in the most wonderful way. You're often my "spring flowers in December" or whatever. You know. All I mean is.. I love you guys.
This week has been good. The area is very nice. Elder Gailey is a great missionary and we're doing well together. We baptized a 15 year-old boy named Adison on Sunday. Our area is part of a ward (which is amazing in itself) that is, unfortunately, a little bit far away from the chapel. There is a bus that takes everyone to and from church for free. But our goal is to get a branch opened here. It's ideal. The members are great and it will be a strong branch that will surely become a ward very quickly. As always, we just lack worthy men. We're working on that though. My buddy Leandro, whom I met in Planaltina, just moved to Vila Planalto. So we get to work together again. That will help a lot. I mentioned this before but I found out a few weeks ago that Aguas Lindas recently became a ward! I'm so happy about that.
President Pizzirani is amazing. Short, but amazing. I met him just yesterday for the first time. He and Sister Pizzirani introduced themselves and the President gave a lesson on the Atonement that was wonderful and inspiring. He used a lot of great scriptures. Then he started talking about the changes that will be made in the mission. This is where the test came for a lot of missionaries. President Aidukaitis told us very clearly that we need to be obedient to every change that is made with President Pizzirani. And basically his vision is very much quality over quantity. President Aidukaitis was the opposite. He just wanted us to baptize everybody. So long as they were at least 8 years old and hadn't killed anyone, we baptized them. And we baptized A LOT of kids, I don't have time to give my detailed opinion on how things were and how things will be, but I can say that I am definitely excited for the future. President wants us to care for each investigator as if they were our own child. He also wants us to work for integrally with the members and ward leaders. That will be so great. We've been needing this.
I'm out of time on the computer. I'm sorry I have to be brief. I'll have more time next week. I love you guys. Jordan

ps: I got the package with the Ensigns and peanut butter and everything. The Brazilians are very happy. Thank you!

July 1, 2008


I'm leaving Cabeceiras! I'll be going to a place called Vila Planalto in Brasilia. My companion will be Elder Gailey. An American. I don't know much about the area other than that the Congress building is part of it, which means President Lula's office is there, which means I'm going to baptize him. I'm excited to leave Cabeceiras. I didn't really want to stay here. Five weeks and I'm gone. Strange. Elder Saldanha will be staying and training a new missionary. That should be exciting. He hopes he's an American because that means he'll get packages with peanut butter.
Oh, I also know that there is a Ward in Vila Planalto. That's crazy. This will be the first time in 9 months I've been in a ward. My whole time in Goias I was in branches.
President Pizzirani got here yesterday and he is apparently shorter than Jonny and TERRIFYING. I'm excited to meet him. By now President and Sister Aidukaitis are gone, as are Elder Maughan, Elder Turner, and most of my friends. I'll miss them. I've still got Valentine though.

Love you family,

June 30, 2008

That's great that so many people in Arizona are coming to Brazil. I'll have people to talk to in Portuguese after the mission. That will be fun. I'll need someone to help me remember my Brazilian dirias. A lot of missionaries say they have a hard time when they get back with accidentally speaking Portuguese sometimes and that kind of thing. I don't know how it will be with me. But I do know that praying in English out loud will be difficult. I can't do it. It's weird.
So, despite our efforts over the last few days, we still know NOTHING of the transfers. No one in the mission office will say anything. We don't know if I'll stay or go, or if Elder Saldanha will stay or go, or if we'll both stay, or both go, or if the area will close. My guess is that we will both stay but nothing is certain. President apparently told the elders that work in the office not to tell ANYONE the transfers earlier than Monday night this time. We figure it's so secretive because there will be a lot of changes in the mission. 22 missionaries are leaving and not even half of that number are coming in. So some areas will have to close. There will also be a lot of new leaders in the mission, because a lot of them are leaving. Who know what's gonna happen. It's all I can think about.
Dad, your missionary story is so cool! I'm jealous. We haven't had anyone interested in weeks here. Isn't it fun to tell people about the gospel? I love teaching people about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and all that in Portuguese. It would be interesting in English. I just love to teach people about something that makes so much sense for everyone, and to give them something that I know can only help them. There is a lot of joy in the actual preaching of the gospel. It's the parts in between that are hard, like going from one appointment to the other in the rain when it's cold and the dirt road turns into mud. But in the end it really all just becomes good experience. I'm genuinely grateful for all the times I've been rained on and all of that misery of my first few transfers.
Momma, are you still feeling bad? I hope you will forgive the person that cut you with the scissors. They probably feel awful about that. I'm sorry your job on the office won't work out, but I believe Dizzy in Nevada will still prosper greatly. Especially with Zach's help. Even though it would be a little crazy if you came to Brazil and found me, I would still be happy to see you. So think about it!
Dinner with the Biglers, huh? Sounds fun. Max laughed when I told him that. He's at the internet place with us. He says hi. I told him he needs to go to our house when he goes to the US in December. His English is decent but whenever I try to practice with him he gets embarrassed and quits. So don't be surprised if Sister Bigler ends up having to translate most of what he says when he's sitting in the living room.
I feel so alone in the mission right now because my father (Elder Maughan) is going home tomorrow morning. I don't know what to do. I feel old. I can't believe he and his group are leaving. Most of my friends in the mission are from that group. Including a few of my companions. So now I feel like I don't know anyone. I know some of Elder Redd's group but once they go in November, I'll only know Day, Valentine and Barton. Weird.
I'm at about 13 months now, right? Oh man! I'm almost home. I'm only thinking about the transfers and home today. I need to get focused.

I love you guys, have a great week!

June 24, 2008

First, Momma, your questions. I will try to indeed answer ALL of them! Wish me luck. Here I go:
My companion and I are well. Just about all better. The cough always seems to linger but I'm fine. We do have a washing machine and a nice kitchen and two very nice bathrooms with showers and everything. We just got new pans for the kitchen yesterday. You never have to worry about the housing. I know there are a lot of stories about missionaries in foreign countries sleeping on haystacks and concrete slabs in the cold and all that but not here. Sister Aidukaitis (who is now doing well, by the way) has made absolutely sure that the Church takes care of us. Every house has to meet a certain standard and be approved by the mission, and they all have washing machines and refrigerators and fancy things like that. I would say our house is pretty nice compared to other houses in Cabeceiras.
Yesterday at zone conference I saw Elder Valentine and I asked him what he thought we were doing a year ago today in the CTM. He was pretty sure what we were doing. I would tell the stories but they are long. Maybe when I get home. All I know is I was having a good time. On the other hand, I was miserable because I felt like I was dying spiritually and had no idea why I was doing this, but then I was happy because I was with my brothers. I do remember now being kind of sick at the CTM. Not just one, but all three of the sisters in our group were nice enough to give me medicine and take care of me. I haven't written any of them but I should. Yes, Maughan's going home in a week, I can't believe it. Also unbelievable is that Presidente Aidukaitis is leaving. It's the craziest thing ever. I don't know what to expect at all with Presidente Pizzirrani. Everything could change. Or nothing. No one knows. He'll get here next Monday night and Presidente Aidukaitis leaves the very next morning. Just enough time for them to probably go out to dinner with their wives and that's it. Then Presidente will become "Elder Aidukaitis" and it's off to Buenos Aires. Like I said before I'm just glad I'll have the chance to see him speak at conference every so often, read articles of his in the Ensign, continue to learn from his counsel. And even more so when he is an Apostle.
I want to write more about the things he talked about yesterday at zone conference but I think I'll save that for next week. There's a lot. It was like no other discourse I've ever heard. Oh his, or of anyones. Sister Aidukaitis also gave us some really great insight and advice on our futures. It was a really wonderful conference. And not just because of the talks, but because we had all the zones in and around the Districto Federal together. Five zones, about 100 missionaries. Everyone in my group (Day, Barton, Valentine) and five of my six companions. Only Elder C Nunes was missing because he is 13 hours away up in the jungle. That zone will have their conference today. At the end of conference, after lunch, we took pictures and gave hugs to Presidente and Sister. I've gotten two hugs from women in the last year, one from Sister Cardon and one from Sister Aidukaitis.
We had to leave from Cabeceiras Sunday night to get to Brasilia for conference. When we got there, we waited until after midnight (because it was Sunday) and went to MCDONALDS!!!!!! I was freaking out. It as so great. We were a little scared because when we first walked up only the drive-thru was open, but then they told us we didn't need a car to go through. So we stood there in line between the cars in our suits. I got a Big Mac, large fries and Coca-cola, and a gigantic vanilla milkshake with chocolate fudge and sprinkles and all this great stuff. I was dying. It had been six months since I last ate McDonalds. Amazing.
The next day, after conference, we had to wait until 8 PM for the bus to Cabeceiras. So we went to Wal-mart in Cruzeiro. Ten minutes from the bus stop. I ate donuts. I bought cereal. I ate Brazilian food at this place inside the store called Giraffas that was amazing. I developed some pictures. Saw a Modest Mouse music video playing an a TV. I was in the States. If you're at all curious as to why I would get so phased by places like Wal-mart and McDonalds, it's because they are soooo fancy here. Upper class places. And really expensive. A can of Pringles is 8 Reais (or 4 dollars). It's kind of unfair, but it makes me proud to be American, seeing our everyday products looked at as delicacies here. It's interesting at least. Elder Maughan and DaSilva had to wait until late for their bus too so they hung out with us the whole day at Wal-mart and elsewhere. Maughan bought shoes in Brasilia.
Momma, I'm so happy for you that you got your job! I made sure to mention in my prayers that ONCE you got the job, you would do well. I had no doubt. I know you will do a great job. What kind of work did Zach do for you? I hope you paid him well. He's gonna need a lot of $$$$$'s to pay his hospital bills if he keeps wanting to be a bullrider. Not that I don't support him. You should pay him with a giant belt buckle.
So everyone in the family is going foreign, huh? I think that is terrific. Everyone should do that for a while. I got a letter from Grandma Hoon telling me about all this. She said that she and Grandpa probably ought to move to Africa or something. What is Crystal gonna do there in Germany while Jessica is playing basketball? How long will they be there? I hope long enough for me to go see a game. If you can, tell Eris that I wish her the best of luck in Germany as well. What city will she be in? I would love to go to Berlin someday.
Well keep taking care of Gma D. I think it's so funny that this was the first week she has ever been alone in her whole entire life. Poor Grandma. I think she'll get by just fine. Good to know Gpa is doing well in the nursing home now.
How is it that dogs can get stung by scorpions and freak out but cats can eat them and be just fine? Regardless, if Socks ever had a problem like Pebbs did this last week I might have to just fly right on home.
One more thing...tell the Boston Celtics I said congratulations and tell Philadelphia good luck on the new building. Looks nice. Is that Freedonm Tower in NYC coming along well? Oh, more importantly, the Burj Dubai? Has it gone into space yet? Has it fallen over yet? I might want to live there after I get home.
OK family, have a great week. I miss you and I love you.

June 16, 2008

Winter is starting to creep into the nighttime here in the Brazil. It's still hot during the day but at night we keep our big window in our room open and I have to use two blankets. It's great. Every night for the last week or so the moon has been framed perfectly by our window so I stare at it for a good while before I fall asleep. It's beautiful and bright and lights up our room. I think about God, and all the amazing things people have done, and how Lance from Nsync is gay and wanted to go to the moon.
We've still been getting over sicknesses this week so we haven't done much, so once again there's little to update on. Remember that old missionary couple I told you about, the Biglers? Well, one of the members who we spend most of our time with, Max, still keeps in touch with them and mentioned to them that I'm from Mesa. The Biglers have since moved from Tempe to Mesa and asked Max for our phone number at home so they can call you guys. Haha. I'm not sure why. I gave the number to Max so you might be getting a call from Sister Bigler one of these days. That should be interesting. She can tell you all about Cabeceiras.
I'm sorry to hear about Ernie having a stroke, I hope he's doing well. I'll remember him in my prayers. And Tim Russert... that's tragic. I liked him. I'd like to read his book when I get home.
How are the Finals shaping up? Lex tells me it looks like the Celtics are gonna take it. It could be over this week, right? I don't know. I've seen NBA highlights on TV once since I've been n Brazil. In Planaltina. They were showing some of the Spur/Hornets series on the news. I was freaking out. It was game 7 and in the end when the Spurs won I buried my face in my hands and everyone starting laughing at me.
I've been missing Planaltina a lot lately since coming here. I really really miss the people there. They felt like family. That's one of the hardest things about being a missionary. Maybe THE hardest thing. Not only do I have to be away from my real home, but when a new city starts to feel like home, I have to pack up and leave. Again and again. It's not easy. But all's well because I know that no matter what I get to go back home to Mesa and my real family.
Momma, I'll pray for your success in your interview at the lawyers office. I bet you'll get the job and you'll do great. Just study those design shows that only have like 1000 dollars to make a room look legit.
Happy Faza's Day, Dad. I hope you get the most out of that Oregano's gift card. Eat a pizzookie for me. Mmmmm. This lady from the Ward made chocolate chip cookies for us this week. A very rare thing in Brazil. They were amazing. I honestly ate like 20 cookies in five minutes.

I miss you guys and I can't wait to see you again in LESS than a year. I love you.


June 9, 2008

Yeah Cabeceiras has it's strong points. Farming, for one. If there ever was or is another article written about Cabeceiras, I'm sure it had to do with farming as well. I guess that the Church farm that I mentioned is the largest the Church has in the world. There used to be an old missionary couple from Tempe that took care of the farm. The Biglers. Everyone here misses them. When they went home was when the Church started to get weaker and weaker here.
So far as helping with that problem is concerned, I haven't been of much help. I got sick AGAIN and have been in bed for the last week. I've gotten better by now for the most part but my cough is lingering still. It's terrible. My chest hurts. There's no medicine in this city so everyone just keeps trying to give me homemade remedies that do nothing. I've eaten honey, I've eaten leaves, I've put a hot wet towel over my face and breathed slowly, I've put an ice cold rag around my neck, I've tried not talking... and all to no avail. Cough drops are the only things that help and that's only temporary. Nothing can seem to get this cough out of my throat.
There isn't much else to update, we did nothing this week. Yes, Sister Aidukaitis is still in the hospital. President told me yesterday she's had some pretty bad migraines. We should all pray for her to get better before they move.
So I suppose now is the time I need to be learning more about Obama and McCain. The thing is, I want somewhat partisan opinions. I wish I would have read their books. Dad, I know you can give me good non-partisan info on both of them, and you should. I'm sure I'll get plenty proBama talk from Chelsea. If there is a McCain supporter in the house, or nearby, have them give me their opinion of why he would be the better choice. I really do not want to make an uninformed vote. And I'll be mad at myself if I don't vote at all.
Alright, is that all? I think that's all. Well, Cabeceiras is without a doubt the worst area of my mission so far. As a city, it's not so bad. It's quiet and peaceful. But as a missionary... frankly I don't understand why President doesn't close this area. I'm doing my best to keep my head up though. And not cough too much. I get to go eat at a really good restaurant for free right now so that's something to be happy about. Also, my Portuguese is improving again after a transfer of only speaking English with Turner and McAllister. That's a good thing. I need to remember to count my blessings.
I have a request... some time ago when my foot pain was getting to the point where Sister said I would have to get surgery, I mentioned it to you guys, and within a week it was gone. I don't know for sure but I believe it was your prayers that made that happen. So I ask, please pray that my cough may go away. Or at least be eased.

I love you family. I'll see you in ONE YEAR!


June 4, 2008


TODAY I PUT THE 365th STICKER ON JORDAN'S MISSION POSTER!!!! We are so proud of you Elder Hoon. Keep up the good work.....Love, MOMMA

June 3, 2008

Well first off, let me just say that it won't do much good for me to give my new address because I live so far in the country. I'm three hours away from Brasilia. So if a letter or a package to go from Sao Paulo, and then Brasilia, and then Cabeceiras, it will end up taking the whole transfer. Just send to the mission address and I'll pick things up at zone conference and at transfer day. This is a 5 week transfer, and we now only have four weeks left. So I can wait a little while. I did get two boxes from Mom and Dad and one from Gpa and Gma Hoon. Tell them thank you so much. I like how my two diabetic grandparents send me boxes full of candy and chocolate. I eat half of it and use the other half to get members to burn me CDs and come teach with us and that kind of thing.
Though I appreciated all I got in the packages, I must say what I cherish the most is the story of our family history that Dad wrote and sent. Thank you so so much for that, Dad. I loved reading that. I read it often. I had never known about Grandpa living in a rich guys mansion, and how much his mother cared about him and wanted him to have success. Both Goldie and Jennison's lives are so interesting. My favorite part of the whole story is the last 25 years or so of Jennison's life and how simple and peaceful it was. I feel connected to that. I love feeling a connection to my ancestors.
REMEMBER WHAT WE NEED TO DO WITH ALL THIS! Guys, the new is apparently very easy to use and we need to put to use the incredible blessing of the THREE new temples we will have near us soon (not to mention the one beautiful temple we already have in our very own city), and do the work for each and every one of these people. I cannot think of anything more important we can do for our loved ones.
I want so badly to go back to the Temple. Especially after having the chance to watch the dedication of the Curitiba Temple by satellite. It was a really wonderful experience. President Monson's dedicatory prayer was beautiful. Elder Nelson was there as well and he gave a good talk. I noticed just before the little cornerstone ceremony outside, President Monson asked the Temple Presidency to go up to the Celestial room. And they stayed there until after the dedicatory prayer. I thought of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery's experience in Kirtland when the Temple was accepted. I imagine a similar acceptance must happen with each Temple Presidency at a dedication, and that is why they go to the Celestial room. Ask Grandma D about that for me.
So Cabeceiras is a nice town. It's really small. Farming town. But I can hang. The air is fresh and the people are friendly. There are about three thousand people, and maybe two thousand have already heard the messages from the missionaries. That makes things a little difficult because those who declined (which is most) did so because they are Catholic and don't want any changes. They just want to work on the farm during the week to get enough money to buy meat and beer for the weekend and that's that. Nothing more. It's difficult. The Church is very weak here. There is a frequency of maybe 25 people that go to sacrament meeting each week. The best of the Church here is a 500 or so acre farm it has outside the city. What grows there helps a lot of people around the world I imagine.
So we spend a lot of time at member's houses. Partly to get people more excited about church, and partly because there isn't much else to do. I like it here though. We have a nice big house for some reason. My companion is a nice guy. He's the only Brazilian I know who loves Weezer. He's always singing. I was sick when I first got here. I'm doing better but now Elder Saldanha is sick. I feel bad.
It was wonderful to see President Monson last night! We watched the dedication on Sunday morning and then last night was the "Big Family Night with the Prophet" as it was called. It wasn't anything Pres. Aidukaitis put together (and no he hasn't been released yet... July 1 he leaves). Brasilia is pretty close to Curitiba and a President of the Church has never visited Brasilia so I guess it just seemed like a good idea. I'm hoping that President Aidukaitis and President Monson went around looking at land to build a Temple. Any day now I'm expecting an announcement.
I can't think of anything else but I feel like I had a lot more things to say. Oh well I'll remember things throughout the week. I'm glad all is well at home. I love you guys. Have a great week.
Love, Jordan

May 27, 2008


Hawaii was a good time, huh? I'm glad my absence allows for such vacations. I'm happy for Dad. Skydiving is for men. So is swimming with dolphins. I have to say though I wouldn't be so much afraid of them eating me as I would be of them poking me with their noses. That seems terrifying. There is a river somewhere in our mission that has little pink dolphins apparently.
I will not be going there this transfer, but I will indeed be transferred. I'm going to a city called Cabeceiras, which means head trees. I guess it's a really small town and everyone has problems with the law of chastity and drinking. Even the members of the Church. Valentine has been there while I've been in Planaltina. My new companion will be Elder Saldanha, a Brazilian.
I'll still be somewhat close to the DF, which is good because President Monson is coming to Brasilia on June 2 and the missionaries nearby can all go. The poor missionaries up in the jungle who are 13 hours away cannot. It will be next Monday that we'll go see him speak. A President of the Church has never come to Brasilia. It's so exciting. And it's on p day. What could be better?
I'll let you guys know how all this transfer business works out next week. I'm glad everyone had a fun vacation. I miss you and I love you more than ever.