Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment

Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment
Serving in God's Army


8/28/12 Week 7

How ya'lls doing?!

Its sounds like everything's going well!

First off Samuel! I miss you So much! And I want you to know how proud I am of you for being able to receive the priesthood and passing the sacrament for the first time!!!! And for giving your first talk, that's awesome. I sure do wish I could have been there to watch it and to make faces at you as you spoke! Hey that's kind of funny, I gave a talk this past Sunday too! I was probably equally as nervous as Samuel because I had/got to give it in Portuguese! That was an experience. We had 45 minutes in the morning to prepare our talks and they all had to be in portuguese and on lesson 4 of PMG, which is commandments. I chose prayer cause I like prayer and.... I don't know, it just felt right. I got up there and my mind kind of went blank and I started talking in English for like 5 seconds but then the wheels started turning and I started my talk. That's funny because that same thing happens to me when I teach lessons. The first few minutes Elder Anderson has to take the bull by the horns and talk cause my brain is like... not there haha BUT once the investigator asks a question or if something has to be explained, I go off and don't stop haha. I feel bad sometimes during our lessons.. cause I talk a lot haha so in my talk, usually people write down everything they want to say in Portuguese but that's not how I like to roll haha. I just write like bullet points in English of things I want to say and just see how long I can talk about them. I spoke for 6 minutes and afterward the branch president came up to me and said I did very well and corrected me on a couple pronunciation mistakes. It's funny, every time I sit down after a talk or bearing my testimony I always remember something I forgot or really wanted to say or I just want to get back up and start speaking again. The same thing happens in Portuguese ahahahaha.

Hey mom could you sent me a picture of me doing cabaret pleeeeze Elder Anderson wants to see.. he dont be believin me haha

The language is getting interesting. Honestly I feel like I hit a plateau of learning, like I'm not retaining as much, maybe because I switch so often from English to Portuguese that I haven't dropped the English yet, which is one reason why I'm super excited to get out to the field so I'll be totally surrounded with only Portuguese cause when I try and just open my mouth I can do it. Today outside the temple when we were loading up to leave, Elder Anderson and I talked to these two boys who were visiting the temple and were doing baptisms for the dead and were baptized members of the church only two years before. Their families were visiting the temple that week from a country far far away (which I forgot the name of) but they were there to be sealed together as a family. First off it was amazing to actually understand what they were telling us, and second it was amazing to see how excited they were to see and be at the temple. It will probably be their only time being at a temple!!! Ah that's like a story straight out of a magazine! All the stories of conversion and baptism are all amazing stories and I just feel so privileged to be a part of it! The people here are so humble and so friendly (except for when they drive) ha. A lot of the elders here have suits that are way too big for them or only two white shirts... it's crazy how much they had to give up to come on their missions.

One of our teachers is always dead tired when we teach her, we teach her at night after she goes to her other job, school and then to the CTM. Every day she is always super excited to be there but it only takes her about 5 minutes to fall asleep in our lessons, everyone's lessons. It's awesome and really funny. At first we thought it was the investigator that was falling asleep cause she was bored or that we were bad teachers ya know, but nope! It was her and she was falling sleep haha. So this is a tiny little black lady and our main goal in a day is to make her laugh, she's kind of like a sister to us, we always try and hook her up with irmos in the CTM right, like to take her on a date or something, and the other day she came into class and told us that she got a boyfriend!!!!!!!!!! haha our hard work paid off and we hooked her up with irmo ramalio!!! Who is one handsome chap if ya ask me haha it was great. Its interesting teaching our instructors cause they totally change character when we teach them. Our male instructor, who is pretty tough at times, talked for 15 minutes straight in one of our lessons, he was telling us a story and we just let him go at it, even though we only have 15 minutes to teach him haha so we decided to let him tell us his crazy night that he had. Turns out afterward he explained to us that when your investigator talks to you like that, that usually means he trusts you and is pretty good friends with you!!!! That's right! Elder Awesome and I are AWESOME!! Some elders do not take these practices seriously and it really irks me! BUT the instructors know that they aren't taking it seriously and they make it really hard on them, which is like sweet revenge.

Police officers just drive around with their AR15 just sticking out the windows, scared the bageezzes out of me last P day

Out of time, love you so so so so so much and I miss you even more! Gosh I love my family, You guys are awesome.

Hey Jess remember that one time you gave me a swirly yes I still remember that haha
I got a letter from Michael Jung this week!!!!



8/21/12 Week 6

Helllllo Family dearest!

Glad to hear that everything is going well and all had a good time and are now home safe and sound!
Uh.. Mom I forgot the name of the speaker from the was such a long time ago. This week was crazy long! But it was something like Dobby Dobly... I don't know :)

Funny YOU ask that mother darling because I'm reading the Book of Mormon again while I'm here in English and I finally found my favorite scripture! I never really had a favorite before now but this is for sure it! 2 Nephi 22:2 oh shoot it might be 2:22... but I'm pretty sure its 22:2 it talks about Christ being our Savior. LOVE YOU

Man I made a list of the things I was going to tell ya'll but they feel like they were so long ago and I can't remember. There was one day when we were teaching our female instructor who is totally awesome! We taught her second, we planned our lesson were all set and stuff and the elders who went before us came in and were super ecstatic and said they baptized her, that she was in a great mood, and that it would be totally easy, right. So this gave me and Elder A some hope right. We were excited to ask her to be baptized too. We got in there and she gave us back the BOM and said she didn't have time.... everything we said, every confirmation that she gave us in the past and at that time... didn't matter. She could only say I don't have time. We gave her back that Book of Mormon then our time was up and she told us to act as though it was super easy and to not tell the other elders. I was so ticked at her in a fun way. But I guess that's real and that's something we have to get used to.
I got my first hair cut since I've been here. The Brazilian that cut my hair was an older chap who sang church songs to us in Portuguese the whole time! It was awesome! I'M BALD, haha, but it's nice and breezy :) it's amazing to see how much perspectives change when you go on your mission, like before I could not have studied the Book of Mormon for half an hour. I would go crazy! Now an hour isn't nearly enough time to satisfy and I start going crazy when I don't have that precious time to study.
More and more elders keep showing up. I know four of them from Helaman Halls at BYU, and elders every week keep leaving, our roommates left this morning along with a bunch of American elders who took us under their wing and of course a bunch of Brazilians left this morning that Elder A and I have become really good friends with. It was super depressing to see their rooms empty this morning. They taught us so much. They sacrificed so much to go on their missions. It makes us Americans look spoiled. A number of them cried when they came to say good bye to us. But after we got home from the temple today I saw our first roommate again. His visa didn't come in on time so he served in Sao Paulo for 3 weeks and he came back here to go to Cape Verde, it was so great to see him again and he was very impressed on how much our Portuguese had improved :)

Man, I'm getting so excited to go out into the field. Every talk, every week elders leave, stories from our teachers, going to the temple ahhh all these things just get me super pumped to go out into the field! It's crazy :)

It's awesome to see how my teaching is improving! I feel bad for my companion, cause there have been times when I've talked for a majority of a lesson just because I was on a roll and I found a way to connect a person's problem to the gospel and how it can help them. So sometimes I feel bad. We were able to commit our second investigator to baptism the other day. It was such an awesome feeling AND haha when we left the little room we were in and went into the auditorium we did a little victory dance and were just celebrating quietly and we turned to the left and the president, his wife and the counselors were taking picture with a district that was leaving that week hahahaha embarrassing! But it was worth it!

It is SO hard to teach a lesson in 15 minutes. That's how much time they give us. Especially the plan of salvation! I don't even think I could do it in English for 15 minutes and I have to speak Portuguese! So it'll be nice to get into the field and have real time! And get robbed haha love you mom :)
I love you family so much, I'm so happy for all of your examples and the strength that you give me every day. I won't let you down.

My testimony and love for the gospel grows every day. I love this gospel :)
Elder Ralph :)


8/14/2012 - Week 5

8/14/2012 WEEK 5

Hello familia!
Glad to hear that the trip went well! In a way I'm glad I didn't have to sit in the car for 1700 miles but I sure do wish I could have been there with ya'll and seen all the sites! This week was another week, just slowly but surely getting better at speaking Portuguese and teaching lessons. Me and my companion are still getting along dandy, he's still awesome.
So remember how I brought that peanut butter. Well the other day I sold it to a Brazilian for 40Rs which is like 20 bucks haha I'm making money haha, I didn't really want to sell it but apparently they love it here. The Sao Paulo temple is closed for the next two weeks so we have the opportunity to go to the Capeneze temple... I think that's how it's spelled. It's an hour away and a weee bit smaller. So me and a few other elders offered to go through a session in Portuguese! It was way cool and I was able to understand quite a bit of it! SUPER COOL. The view from the temple is way cool cause it's on the top of this hill that overlooks the city. On the way to the temple we kinda left the city and drove on a highway that kind of reminded me of highway 18 going to northbend, with trees on either side and kinda curvey. Then out of nowhere there was this entire hillside of like squater houses, huts, little shacks, it's crazy the difference in social rank here. There are super rich people who have private helicopters, which constantly fly overhead and then there are people that live on the streets.
My goal this week is to be more outgoing, like annoyingly outgoing haha something that I've noticed about myself is that I'm quiet at first but can easily become good friends with almost anyone. So this week I'm going to try and talk to as many people I can, in Portuguese, just ask them whatever question I can, cause that's what I want to be able to do out in the field. Talk to Everyone!
Our last two weeks we get to go out in the middle of Sao Paulo and proselyte, just see how many book of Mormons you can pass out. They literally drop us off at a town square throw a couple books at us and say don't come back unless you give them to someone ha-ha I'm super pumped for that and so is my companiaro.
We were able to baptize our first two investigators from our two instructors and we were able to start teaching another investigator and holy cow what an improvement! Like we started teaching the second day we were here in Portuguese and let's just say we did not cover all the bases haha BUT this time we are actually making sense and are actually teaching stuff... that isn't very descriptive but I'm out of time. It's just really nice to see the improvement in both our teaching and our Portuguese. And we're barely over halfway! (not that I'm counting down or anything), I just can't wait to go to my actual mission and be with the people.
Today our p day is being cut short because a member of the 70 is coming to speak to us, I forgot his name. I'll tell ya next week. Remind me haha.
The other day I took 40lbs and did two laps of lunges around the track.... I seriously don't know why because I'm on the 6th floor and my legs are DEAD.
Oh Sarah, got your letter! Thanks a bunch and yes I replied.
I'm singing this acapella song called "prayer to the children", you should listen to it and picture me singing bass cause we sound just as good as the people that recorded the song haha.
Hey! This Sunday was Father's Day here in Brazil! Happy Fathers Day dad from your son in Brazil! I love you so much, I am so thankful for everything you've taught me, all the patience that you've had with me and the support and love you have shown me, I want to be just like you. Every day I think of you and thank God that I was blessed to be your son. I miss you and Love you So much.
Love you all!
Elder Ralph


8/7/2012 Week 4

8/7/2012 Week Four

Hello Everybody!
Wow what a week!
I don't really know where to start! The week has been full of good times and hard times, not going to lie I really wish I could be there to see the new baby and go to the family reunion, but I know I need to be here and I'm happy that I'm here. Elder Anderson and I were able to baptize one of our fake instructors! We were the first in our district to finally get Alyson to be baptized Woot woot. It's crazy how happy you get when you baptize someone... and this was fake haha I can't imagine what it would be like to when I finally get to do it to a real investigator! Crazy! At the same time you get super bummed out when they fall away or break a commandment, or don't get what you're trying to tell them.
We have a devotional every Tuesday and Sunday and they are all really good and really spiritual, its weird having a translator during a devotional but in a way it helps you learn Portuguese. Every devotional we learn a song an hour before the meeting and sing it for the president or whoever is speaking. Usually it's one verse in Spanish two in Portuguese and one in English. I really am starting to love singing even more. I wouldn't be surprised if Elder Anderson and I ended up singing a duet or something for the devotional. Speaking of songs, we sing the Brazilian national anthem every Sunday and it is awesome! No offense to our country, love it, but this song is legit. It's super upbeat and fast. The MTC president plays it for us, he's really good, and his first name is Ralph so that makes him even cooler!
Every P-day we are able to go to the temple, I love going to the temple. It's honestly a time when we can all just relax, unwind, and refill our spiritual tanks. The Sao Paulo temple is going to be closed these next two weeks so we get to go to another temple that is like an hour away! We're all super excited for that. Unfortunately there won't be a mission in my area at Maceio, but I heard that once a while we'll go to a temple in Recife or something like that.
Elder Anderson and I are still best of buds and we're still working hard. This week I kind of hit a pit with the language... I feel like I'm forgetting more than I'm retaining, but we had a chit chat and we both decided that we were going to work super hard this week and focus on the language and learning new words, only talking to each other in Portuguese as much as we can, and memorizing scriptures.
The Olympics are kind of big here but not as much as in America. It's weird to think that I'm on the other side of the planet! I saw a map the other day... weird.
All Brazil cares about is soccer and not losing to Argentina hahaha they really despise argentines. They always get teased from the Brazilians, but in a friendly manner of course.
I am so happy to be on my mission, I know this is where I'm supposed to be and that this is what the lord wants me to be doing. I know his hand is in my life, he has blessed me with an amazing family who raised me to be who I am. He gave me an amazing companion, and that's good cause I don't know if I could handle any different one haha jokes! He's great though. I'm growing spiritually with my testimony and knowledge of the gospel and why it is so important in our lives and the lives of the people that we teach. I know that what I'm doing is right, please continue to pray for me! I need it haha.
I'm really happy to hear that the Emeri is doing well and that everyone is safe and sound and having fun!!!! Don't have too much fun without me now hahaha
Love you all so much!
Did Samuel get my letter?