Monday, May 30, 2011

Week 37 - 30 May 2011

Feliz Aniversário, Papai!!!  Your birthday is coming up real soon, so I wanted to wish ya a happy birthday. J  You’re only turning 27 right? haha jk.  Hope you have a good birthday this Wednesday with mom!

This week was pretty normal.  Nothing too crazy or exotic happened.  We moved the baptism of the girl, Lorena, to Thursday so it can be on the same day as another 8 year old girl in the ward that are friends.  So that should be pretty fun.  As for that family of Dário and Catyane, we’re still working with them quite a bit.  They didn’t go to church on Sunday again...but we’re gonna have a family home evening there with them tonight and really try to get them ready spiritually and with the circumstances at home to get baptized this month.

In our church building here we have 2 wards, ours, Independência, and another called Entocamento.  About 2 weeks ago, President Campos closed the area in Entrocamento and put the missionaries in a different area because that ward hasn’t had a baptism for about 9 months.  But on Sunday, one of the counselors of that ward talked to us because they have a few referrals that seem to be pretty interested in the church.  But since there aren’t missionaries there anymore, they are asking us if we would be able to teach them and stuff.  We need to get permission from President, but we’ll see what he wants to do about teaching these referrals.  It would be cool to be able to teach them so that the ward can have a few baptisms!

Besides that, we seemed to run into quite a bit of either drunk people or snakes (girls that try to flirt with us) during the week.  We had some funny conversations with some drunk people who tried to talk to us haha.  All we can really do is try to get their info and say that we’ll try to talk to them another time when they actually know what they’re saying haha.  It’s actually pretty funny cuz sometimes I can’t even understand what they’re saying, so I look to Elder Villela for help.  But a lot of the times even he can’t understand what they’re saying too haha.

Love you guys and thanks for the support every week.  Also, I’m so proud and happy that Rio is at the MTC right now getting ready to serve a mission too!  It’s pretty cool to have a sister serving as a missionary at the same time as me.

Well, tchau tchau!  Até próxima!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Week 36 - 23 May 2011

Hey!  So this week was another okay week.  It rained a ton here, every single day haha, but I think it’s getting to that time where the rains should stop a little and there should be more sun.  Cuz it’s funny, the people don’t really even know the seasons here in the north.  They don’t even know when winter or summer is.  They only know that during certain times of the year it rains like crazy everyday, and at other times there isn’t much rain but the sun is boiling hot here. Haha  So those are the two seasons here, and people say it’s starting to get into the hot season.  So I’m gonna have to get ready for that haha.
But as for this week, we had a baptism of that one man, Pedro.  He’s 29, and he’s dating a girl in the church.  He’s really enjoying the church and the people here too.  He’s been going to institute with her for a while too, so I think she’s gonna be a real good support for him to stay active and to keep choosing the right.  But as for the others, the other family wasn’t able to go to church again, so it doesn’t look like they’ll be able to get baptized this month...but we’re always praying and fasting for them to really overcome all their difficulties and to have the ability to go.  But this next Saturday, we’re planning a baptism for a girl who’s a daughter of a less active member that’s coming back to church. So hopefully everything will work out to for her this coming Saturday.

So this week, we were visiting a less active member and her husband.  They really like us, and she made us a type of food here that’s called Tacacá.  We were pretty excited to eat it as we were on our way over there, but oh my gosh.  It’s made of shrimp, but just imagine a type of shrimp broth, with a bunch of gooey mucus and shrimp on top hahaha. It was so hard to eat!  So that was a pretty fun experience this week.  Well, I’m short on time, so I have to go.
Tchau! Amo Vocês!

Baptism of Pedro 21 May 2011

Week 35 - 16 May 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011 – Week 35

Oí Família!  Not too much exciting happened this week, but it was a good week.  At church yesterday, on Sunday, I gave a talk.  Man I was nervous haha.  It was a talk for about 10-15 minutes about the priesthood.  You guys know just how much I don’t enjoy giving talks in English, but a talk in Portuguese, I found out I dislike even more haha.  It’s funny because after having to do things like teach classes or give talks in Portuguese, I wonder why I ever complained about doing that in  my native tongue haha.  It was about 12 minutes long.  But I think it turned out a little better than I was actually expecting it to.

So this next week, we were preparing about 6 people to be baptized for this next Saturday.  We have a family with the dad, Dário, the mom, Katiane, and two daughters, Dayane and Dayara.  But when we went over to their house on Sunday morning to take them to church, they weren’t able to go...And we need the dad to go to church one more time before we can baptize him, but it seems to be really tough cuz he has to take care of his blind dad at home.  But we’re gonna keep working with him.  We also have a man named Pedro that is going to be baptized this next Saturday.  He’s super ready and everything, so we’re pretty stoked.  He’s dating a girl of the church, and she’s really helping him and wants to marry him in the temple, so he’s learning about all this stuff and is really excited too.\

Besides this, one thing that was cool this week was that the member where we ate lunch at on Sunday has a monkey haha.  So I got to take a picture with it.  It was pretty scared and tried to bite me a lot so I couldn’t really touch it haha  but it was cool.

Okay love ya guys but I gtg!


Pet monkey at member's home

Week 34 - 9 May 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011 – Week 34

Feliz Dia das Mães!  Te amo mamãe!!!  Hey guys, it was fun talking to you yesterday for Mother’s Day.  Even though we had a little trouble with the call sometimes, I’m glad you got it to work out.  It was really nice to get to hear everyone’s voices and everything, and to get to talk to Rio before she leaves on her mission too. 

So besides the phone call, this week wasn’t the best haha but it was good cuz we found a guy who’s dating a member of the church here that wants to get baptized.  So we’re gonna baptize him, hopefully along with another girl, and also a family that we’ve been teaching here too on the 21st of this month.  We have a goal of 8 baptisms this month, so we’re gonna be working our tails off with these people to get them to go to church and baptize them this month.  It’s a little tough to get people to go to church here because the church for our ward is actually in a different block of the city, and we have to take a bus there, and it starts at 8:30 in the a lot of people here don’t wake up and take the time to go.  So that’s a little tough for us, but hopefully our investigators will find the will to go!

So just the other day, we were walking on a street that we walk on like everyday here, and an old man stopped us in the middle of the street.  I thought he looked nice so we started to talk to him, and then out of nowhere, he like started raising his voice and started accusing me of working for the government in the US and that I was here in Brasil as a spy... hahaha no joke.  I didn’t even know what to say haha.  He told us that Americans are sent here to walk on the streets, to know the entire world street by street, to take over the world or something like that ... and that we always walk with a Brasilian to not look so suspicious. Haha.  We explained that we were missionaries and that we visit people in their homes to spread the gospel, but he just kept saying that we never enter the houses of others, just walk the streets haha.  Then he started to yell at us about the bible too.  It was pretty crazy and funny not gonna lie.

Oh and last night, we got home to our apartment and guess what we found - a huge spider.  Elder Villela said that it’s been living here for like the past 2 transfers but they haven’t been able to find it.  It’s really fast, so it was hard to catch, but after a half an hour of our hunt, we finally found it.  Have any ideas of how we killed it? Haha  Yep, first we stunned it with Axe spray, then burned it with a flame thrower using the Axe spray, then poured alcohol around it and lit it on fire. Haha  It was pretty freaky, but it was really funny.

Anyway, love you guys and love ya mom!  Thanks for everything and hope you had a great Mother’s Day!

Élder Andrus

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Week 33 - 2 May 2011

Okay so this week, Elder Villela and I were actually in a trio with Elder Freeman cuz he was waiting for his new companion that was going to arrive on Friday.  So us 3 were working in our area for the week, and it was pretty sweet.  We had a wedding that we were a part of, then the baptism of this couple later that night on Wednesday.  The previous missionaries were teaching them over a long period of time, and they finally got married and baptized!  It was cool because I got to be one of the witnesses for the marriage.  Their names are Sergio and Meyre.  I’ve yet to have a marriage of an investigator until now so it was bem legal!

Our zone here in Cabanagem is a really big zone, and there are also a ton of Americans. It was so weird because at our last zone meeting almost everyone was speaking English! Haha  It was a little weird for me because I haven’t had many opportunities to speak English in Oriximiná, so it was pretty cool.  Definitely took a little bit of getting used to again haha.

One Elder here, Elder Bitner, is in our zone, and he actually entered the MTC the same time as me.  But he didn’t get his visa until last transfer and was serving in Louisiana for about 4 months before he came down here.  It’s crazy that we have the same amount of time on the mission, but since he hasn’t had the opportunity to speak Portuguese he has to start learning so late in the mission.  He’s doing really well though.

So this week I finished the Book of Mormon in Portuguese!  Yay!  That felt pretty good to do haha.  And now, I think we’re gonna start all over again as a mission. 

So I’m liking this new area here in Independência, but we haven’t had water for like the past 5 days haha.  It just came back today.  So we’re grateful we can actually take a shower in our own house again! haha

Well we don’t know much about the call on Mother’s Day next week, but we’ll get something to work.  I’m not sure what we’ll do but I think it’ll be from a member’s house or something.  Can’t wait to talk to you guys again!

Love you all!

-Élder Andrus

From the plane to Belém

Wedding of Sergio and Meyre

Baptisms of Sergio and Meyre

Brasil Belém Missão with Élder Andersen

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Week 32 - 25 April 2011

Okay, so...this week was an adventure.  Yeah it was pretty crazy.  So Elder Costa and I had plans to take the boat to Santarém on Thursday night, get there on Friday, and catch the plane to Belém to go to the mission conference with Elder Anderson.  Wednesday night we got a call from the zone leaders informing us that both of us needed to take our bags and stuff because we weren’t going to be returning to Oriximiná, but they didn’t tell us where we will go.  So we got all of our stuff ready, and headed down to the boat Thursday night.  But as we got there, we discovered that there wasn’t a boat going to Santarém!  So we ended up walking the streets and asking people for a way to get to Santarém until like 2:00 in the morning, because we surely weren’t going to miss our chance to see Elder Anderson in Belém.  But we decided to head back home and find another solution the next morning.  So the next day we went back down there early in the morning and found out the boat was only gonna leave at 9:00 at night, and all the other people there wanted to charge us like 500 reais.  So... okay to make a long story short, we took the boat to Santarém, got there about 4:30 in the morning, took a plane to Belém at 7:00, got to the church at 10:00, and barely squeezed in the conference to participate.  We did miss the chance to shake his hand, but at least we made it there right?  Yeah that was hectic and stressful, but it all turned out fine.

But as for the transfer, I’m in Belém right now - in Zone Cabanagem, area Independência.  My new companion is Elder Villela from São Paulo.  Right now we are as a trio with Elder Fogg, from Salt Lake, because he´s heading to the mission home today because he´s going home tomorrow.  But this area seems nice.  Elder Villela only has 3 months in the mission, so I’ll be the one taking charge it seems haha - but he seems like a good missionary.  We already have baptisms planned for Wednesday and Sunday!

But I’m in a hurry today, so that’s about it.  I loved the conference with Elder Anderson though.  It was pretty cool.

Love you guys!!

Elder Andrus

Week 31 - 18 April 2011

Olá!  So on Tuesday, we headed to Santarém to have a weird emergency meeting with the zone, and guess who showed up out of nowhere. Haha  Presidente Campos. No one knew, but he was planning a surprise conference with our zone.  He was really straightforward and actually a little harsh, because he wasn’t impressed with the work of the mission in the last couple weeks, especially the last weeks before Elder Neil L. Anderson will be coming to Belém.  But, he told us that we will be going to Belém for sure!  We’re gonna head to Santarém this Thursday, and our flight to Belém is on Friday. The conference with Elder Anderson is Saturday morning.  I’m pretty excited not gonna lie.  I mean I haven’t gotten out of this town to the big city since I came here!  Haha.  It’s definitely gonna be a highlight of my mission to be able to see an Apostle of the Lord.

And while we were in Santarém for the conference with Presidente, I got those 3 packages you guys sent to me, and Elder Costa got his with his Ipod.  So no worries, the MP3 player, camera, and everything else made it so me safely.  I’m loving the new music too, especially the Lord of the Rings soundtrack :) and Elder Costa is loving the Ipod haha.

So this week, we had one baptism planned for the son of Aldenilsa, but it ended up falling through because another one of her kids was sick, and it just didn’t work out this week.  But Rosalia’s daughter, Emily, was baptized on Sunday and counted as a ward baptism because she’s 8 years old. It went pretty well.

Oh, and one other thing, remember how I said that in this region of the Amazon there are a lot of Indians that speak different languages and stuff?  Well, one member of the ward here has a neighbor that speaks one of these languages/dialects, and he was teaching us some stuff haha.  It’s called wai wai.  It’s not even close to sounding like Portuguese.
It really sounds like one of those crazy Indian languages haha.  Maybe if I stick around Oriximiná a little longer, I’ll come home speaking Portuguese and wai wai fluently! Haha

So I’m sure we’re gonna find out about who’s gonna be transferred this week before we head off to Belém.  It seems like there’s gonna be a lot of changes.  I’m pretty excited to see where people will go because since I’ve been here I haven’t seen almost any changes haha.

Well, I love you guys, and thanks for the support in your letter and packages!

Até próximo!

Élder Andrus

These are Aldenilsa´s kids. They loved the new camera haha

Rosalia and her two daughters

Emily! Rosalia´s daughter

Irmão Aléx. He´s the stake family history leader.

Taperabá juice. Haha I don´t even know what kind of fruit that is.

Beautiful Santarém

After searching 6 months here for Gatorade... I finally found some :)

Week 30 - 11 April 2011

Oí Família!

So I’m not so sure what’s gonna happen for this next transfer - if I’ll stay or go, but I think it’ll be for the best to not send any more letters to Oriximiná because there is a fair chance that I might be transferred here in a few weeks.  Just warning ya. 

But this week was pretty slow.  After I was a little sick, Elder Costa got sick too and ended up having to stay at home resting for a little while.  So we didn’t get as much done as we would have liked because of that.  But yesterday we had a meeting with all the ward missionaries, and they all went out on the streets and started making contacts, handing out Books of Mormon and getting addresses of these people as references for us. They ended up getting about 16 that night, so now we’re gonna have some good and interested people to teach this coming week.  I think they should do this every week haha. Because here in this region, knocking doors almost never works here.  And the way to really get people to teach is through references and the members.  So we’ll see how this turns out.

As an example of this, during the week we went out with the Bishop, and he took us to a family that he knows.  When we got there, the man just woke up and got out of his hammock and was excited to see us.  He was telling us that that day, he was planning on traveling to one of the suburb cities here, but he was feeling as if he shouldn’t.  So he ended up staying.  He wasn’t sure why he shouldn’t go or not, but he stayed anyway.  And it seems that right after he made his decision to stay, he returned back home, took a nap in his hammock, woke up, and then we arrived.  And after the lesson, he told us that he knew why he shouldn’t have gone on his little trip because servants of the Lord were planning on dropping by.  He was really grateful for our visit, and he has a big desire to change his life too.  He has a wife and 9 kids, and actually has to travel to here in a few days until the 20th.  We might not be here to teach him, but for sure the Bishop with other missionaries will be able to teach him and help him come closer to Christ.  So there is power in references and actually going with the missionaries to the homes of our friends to share the gospel.  I know for a fact that when I get back, I’m gonna be giving a lot more references to the Elders than I have in the past haha.

So about the trip to Belém, I think we’ll be able to go, but we’re still not sure.  President Campos bought the tickets already but wants to see us work hard right up till the day we leave to show that we deserve to see Elder Neil L. Anderson.  So, we gotta keep puttin our shoulder to the wheel and gettin at it haha because we really want to go to Belém.  For sure to be able to see an Apostle of the Lord, but also it feels like we’ve been trapped here for half a year, and we need a little air haha.  Being this far and isolated, Oriximiná feels more like a home town to us than a town where we do our work.  It’ll be a weird change getting to leave and go to the city in Belém.

And one thing that I’m noticing, and I’m not really that fond of, is that my white shirts seem to be getting baggier and baggier every day.  I think I’m about at 145 right now, I’m not sure.  But hopefully I’ll gain some weight back when I serve in other areas of the mission though.  I hear that everybody that serves in the Santarém Zone loses more weight than the others haha.

Love ya´ll!  I send a letter through missionties this week, so hopefully you’ll get that soon!

-Élder Andrus