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.