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!