January 13, 2009

I have to give a short update this week because I have a bunch of stuff I have to do on the computer. Momma, thank you so much for wanting to give me a nice room to live in when I get home. I'm sure I will freak out. Feel free to send me a picture if you want! Or if you want it to be a surprise, that's fine. Dad, thank you for all the supportive things you tell me. I'm really grateful for that. I'd love to get a letter from you telling me all about what you're reading lately. Those are my favorite letters.
I have yet to get any letters at the apartment this transfer. No Christmas card or friend letters that you mentioned, yet. Hopefully soon. Elder A. Nascimento called me and told me I have a package that arrived safely at the office. Just to tease me I suppose. I'm looking forward to that.
The Lord has been blessing us with good people to teach and we're really happy about that. We brought a lot of people to Church last week. It was wonderful. Thank you for your prayers, I know they helped.
The Members are off on their Temple Excursion this week. I'm jealous. I can't wait to go to the Temple when I get home. Not only in Mesa, but several others all over the world. For all the family and friends and music and movies and traveling and school and reading and fun things that make me miss home, one thing that makes me miss home the most is going to the Temple. I hope the Lord will help me to learn a lot there.
We're working hard. Two more weeks left in this transfer, then only three more transfers. Who knows, maybe it's my last two weeks as District Leader? Maybe I'll leave Planaltina? Maybe I'll go off to the jungle finally? I don't know. What I do know is that I love the Book of Mormon. I love to teach people who will listen to us. I love you guys. I miss you. Have a good week.

January 6, 2009

I have to say that Conceicao (our recent convert of a few weeks) is the absolute joy of my life. She and her daughter, Debora (which is not an ugly name in Portuguese), are what I think of when I need peace. I was thinking about them as I was lying in bed on Sunday night and I was just completely overcome with joy. I could have cried. Earlier that day Conceicao was sustained and set apart as Second Counselor in the Relief Society Presidency of our Branch. She mentioned when we visited her a little while later that at first she was terrified but then felt peace and is really excited now, and anxious to magnify her calling. We taught a little bit about how callings work (as I've learned a few things about that here) and that helped her to feel even stronger. I feel like Ammon when he returned home from his something like 14 year-long mission and started freaking out because of the miracles he'd seen. I only boast of the Glory of God, and will continue to do so. However, for as happy as I get, my mind continually returns to that scripture in the D&C that says "how great would be your joy if you bring MANY souls unto Christ" or something like that. I want that. I don't want to be satisfied with just Conceicao in this area. I want to be able to look back on Arapoangas and think of many, many people in the same way I think of Conceicao.
There are certainly those who we've helped a lot, who we've even seen miracles with, but who haven't been able to be baptized for now because they aren't married. For these things I still have incredible joy. I've had a man tell me that he has three goals in his life: the first to get married, second to join the Church, and the third he hasn't told me yet. I've seen another man stand and bear his testimony in front of the Church declaring with tears in his eyes that he will be baptized in the Church at the very moment he is able to. There are a lot of problems with legal marriage here. It's not the same as it is in the States. But basically any honest person that is willing to change their life and that goes to Church eventually becomes converted, whether they can make covenants or not. I trust the Lord will provide a way for all of these people soon.
So that's all I wanted to say this week. Just that I'm happy because I can say that I've seen miracles. Pray together with me and my companion that the elects will be illuminated for us in our area so that we can find them and see even more of these wonderful miracles and I can keep freaking out with JOY!!!
Love, Jordan

December 30, 2008

On this matter of travel you've mentioned, Dad...
You can blame my outrageously well-traveled companion for the following thought process. (He has seen everything from Prague to the Great Wall of China. I sit there freaking out when he tells me all about Italy and how Australia looks just like the US. He's been to Hong Kong! Dad, do you remember when we watched the thing on the travel channel about the Hong Kong airport and decided we NEED to go there? Well, we still do.) I want to see everything in the world. The way I like to think of traveling is to plan things as if money were no object and we had an unlimited amount of time. Then look a what is truly feasible and scale back from there. I plan on doing as much of this as possible throughout my life starting as soon as I get home.
Not just because of my companion, and not just because of Dad's page on my fancy calendar, and not just because of my obsession with maps that I developed at a young age (though these are all factors), but also because I've had the opportunity to live in some very poor places in Brazil and live without a lot of nice things for this season of my life, and that, I believe, has given me the most incredible desire to travel the world and see everything. I don't mind if every birthday and Christmas present I ever get for the rest of my life is a trip somewhere, I just want to see things.
I'm sure I'll end up making a list. Michelle and Lex, tell me where you think it would be fun to go. Not only do I want to go to new places, I want to see a lot of the things I've already seen so that I can value it the way I really should have at the time. I won't bother anyone on this subject much beyond now, today. I just want everyone to know my thought process. If anyone wants to bring this up with me later, feel free.
Speaking of places we've been, that is really sad about Fernie. That could either be an easy way to go-if you just get hit by an avalanche and die instantly-or a really awful way to go, if you're buried alive. That's horrible to think of. I don't know if I'll ever go snowmobiling.
As for Christmas... it was so great to talk to everyone. SO great. I was so happy. I didn't cry. I have yet to cry during or after family phone calls. I just get really happy. I was so happy afterward that I went outside and just started teaching this woman out of nowhere and I read 2 Nephi:31 with her and invited her to get baptized and all this great stuff. She lives in another city, we'll see what happens. Dad, I hope you're enjoying your Kindle. It sounds incredible. What did everyone else get? I hope I get some pictures soon.
As for boxes, Mom, I must make a few changes. I don't want anymore chocolate and candy and unhealthy stuff. As much as I've appreciated everything that has been sent to me so consistently throughout my mission, I need to make sure I don't get fat. Ever since we got out packages last week we've been eating nothing but Pringles and chocolate. We're getting FAT. I get up in the morning and do exercises and then I eat chocolate! So please tell everyone else who would send me a package to please send healthy things. If possible. If nothing healthy to eat can be sent, just send PICTURES! Pictures are the best.
A healthy food suggestion for all: there is this granola cereal that I like to eat here called Kellness. It's made by Kellogg's, I have to imagine it's in the States but I don't really know. It's sooooo good. If you want to send me that I would appreciate it a lot. Granola bars too. Always remember of course that you don't have to send me anything, only pictures of Socks and family are the things I will consider required.
Happy New Year for everyone. Remember that 2009 is the year I come home. Don't forget..... I miss you always, family. I pray for you. I love you.

December 23, 2008

We found a house for you guys to call at! So excited!!!
Elder Chacon's family is in California and our guess is that the times are the same right now for AZ and Cali. We might be wrong about that. He's planning on getting his call first at 3pm here (10am there), but if it turns out there is a six hour difference between here and California, his family may end up calling at the same time as you guys. Thus, we have the cell phone. I really hope it's not a confusing situation for anyone.
All I'm really worried about is having a hard time speaking JUST in English. That's gonna be tough. I'll get by though. I hope Gma Gpa Hoon and D can be there.
I love you guys. I can't wait to talk on the phone.

December 16, 2009

I'm eating a banana as I write this. First of all, they decided at the last second to move p-day/transfer day to today because there are no missionaries going home this transfer, and because we aren't going to do our little family night thing we do every transfer day at the chapel in Asa Norte because it was being used yesterday and today. So this transfer is normal p-day. Sorry about the confusion. I promise it's not anything I had control over. The next one will be January 26th, which is a Monday.
I'm not leaving. Neither is Elder Chacon. The only person leaving our district is Sister Souza. Everyone else stays. Sister Souza is really nice, and a great missionary. I'll miss her a lot. We'll have Sister da Silva in her place now. I'll still be district leader. After this transfer I'll only have three transfers left, which makes me think I'll only have one more area after Arapoangas. As always, I like my area. I don't want to leave. leaving, at least for me, is the worst part of the mission. I hate leaving. For one, it's stressful, and messy. you have to pack your bag really quickly and run to the bus stop and you usually get lost at some point trying to find where you're going. No fun. I'm slowly working on getting rid of things though, luggage particularly. So that makes things a little easier. My plan of coming home with just a backpack will surely come to pass. That will be amazing. But even worse than all of that stuff, the hardest part about leaving is that you have to leave the members and investigators that you work with and become friends with. There is nothing good about that. There's never any time to say goodbye. I hate it.
Anyways, I'm glad I'm not leaving. And I'm excited about this next transfer. We're going to get a lot of good done, and we're going to be a lot more organized. Elder Chacon is doing a great job of helping me organize things.
One thing I do not have organized yet is the Christmas phone call. I'm sorry. I can't seem to find anyone who is able to help us out. We may have to do it on the cell phone again. I know it's expensive, but here's the thing... the few members here that have house lines are either going out of town or are not trustworthy at all. There is one member I can think of who will be here on Christmas who has a house phone but I'm convinced that something will "come up" or she'll just forget and leave her house. I will look around this week, maybe we can use an investigator's house. I can still update you next p-day (which is not Christmas day, it will be the 23rd) if we find a place where you guys can call. I'll be sure to let you know.
Let me tell you guys just really quick about the miracle that happened this week. We baptized a woman named Conceicao (kon-say-sown) on Saturday, and it was perhaps the most meaningful baptism of my mission thus far. We met Conceicao at the beginning of last transfer, Elder Cosme and I. She was living with a man named Francisco who she has two kids with, Davi and Debora. They aren't married, like a lot of people here. When we first met them Francisco seemed more interested, but over time he started to lose interest as Conceicao started to listen more and more to what we were teaching. In the time we've known them, they've moved to a different house, which is behind a new store of used furniture they opened up. They have two of these stores, Francisco takes care of one and Conceicao takes care of the other. After several weeks of teaching her we learned that Francisco argues with her over almost everything, doesn't ever help with the kids, and even hits her sometimes. She told us how she stopped loving him years ago and has been wanting to separate from him, but he has always refused. We gave the Book of Mormon to them on I think our second visit. Conceicao was the only one to pick it up and read it. She loves the Book of Mormon now. Over the past several weeks it was becoming increasingly clear that she was prepared and deserved to be baptized.
We'd already taught her everything; we were beginning to go over the lessons all over again, and even coming up with some fun object lessons from the Book of Mormon for her and her kids. The only thing that was getting in her way was the fact that Francisco was living in the same house with her without being married. They weren't breaking the law of chastity, they weren't even sleeping in the same room, but the rules of the Church with this kind of thing are very clear cut. Basically, you can't live on the same property as someone of the opposite sex (outside of your family) without being married if you want to be baptized. So Conceicao went several weeks wanting very much to be baptized, but not being able to because of this technicality. She didn't get discouraged though, nor did she allow such circumstances to weaken her faith. She continued to follow our counsels and read the Book of Mormon and go to church. We would come with plans to try and get Francisco out of the house. Leaders from the Church were called over to talk to him and explain things. We tried just simply moving his clothes into their other furniture store where there is a little apartment to live in. He wouldn't leave. And they would fight a lot. We recognized that it was entirely outside of our control whether or not he left. Our only option, after three months of teaching, and a sweet priesthood blessing given to her, was to fast and pray that the Lord would please not forget those who do his will. He answered our prayers this weekend, after the bittersweet test of faith, and Francisco finally decided he didn't feel welcome in his home anymore, and left. Conceicao was baptized on Saturday night and confirmed Sunday morning. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.
She has been radiant these last few days since receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and is so excited to learn more. She feels honored to have the chance to be a full tithe payer and to be given a calling soon. I know with a surity now that I can't go home from my mission saying I didn't see miracles. Truly I can testify of the words Mormon spoke, "He has not ceased to be a God of miracles". My prayers have been full of gratitude, and hope for the future. We have a number of good people to work with on the horizon, so I'm happy I'm staying here.
I'm also looking forward to my new pants that I should get next week at zone conference, and I'm especially looking forward to our Christmas phone call!!!!! I'll be sure to let you know if I find someone's house we can use. If not, I'll give the cell phone number next week. I hope all is well at home. I miss you guys, I love you and pray for you.