Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment

Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment
Serving in God's Army


Week 11 Sept 24, 2012

Why hello family that I love so much!
It's great to hear from you all and to know that you're still alive and kickin' haha.
 I haven't received any letters and I don't even know how to receive letters, but if you sent it the CTM they will forward it here but it'll just take longer. But! I can't wait to get it!
Good for Michael and the Johnson twins, that's totally cool, I'm way excited for all of them, and that's so cool that dad got to go with him through the temple. Jealous :)
 Man sure do wish I could be there to help you take care of the munchkins mom, and squeeze their chubby cheeks:) but I'm sure you'll manage. totally and you have no excuse to be jealous of Jon and Jenna, haha, I Have An Excuse, haha, all I gotta say is that I'm going on a cruise right when I get married, haha, if I can afford it. It sounds like you had an awesome stake conference, visiting with people, and hearing Rebekah play the piano.
Let me tell ya, one regret so far, I wish I had stuck with learning how to play the piano cause in my ward they don't have anyone to play... and it makes a huge difference. Sorry mom... you were right, haha, but I'm kinda teaching myself and practicing whenever I have time so who knows maybe I'll be able to play by the time I get back.
This week... uh... this week actually went by really fast. We work hard all day. I really like my area, I have a very poor area, all the houses are made out of brick and cement, dogs, cats, rats, geckos, chickens, pigeons, horses and trash all over the place. Love it though I went on splits the other day because our DL was giving a baptism interview to one of our investigators and I went with his companion to his area which was the very wealthy part of the city, and it was totally different. Hardly anyone wanted to talk to us, and many people were kinda rude. That was probably the hardest day of my mission so far, it was crazy and I learned a lot. Haha, it was funny, the elder that I was with, every time he said, alright this doors yours, whoever answered it would be a hardcore atheist or would just open the door then shut it right away, haha, it was great, haha.
 This morning I finished the Book of Mormon. I started reading it halfway through the CTM and I just finished it, not bad for only having an hour a day to read, which is not enough, haha, now I have a goal to finish it in Portuguese, but that will for sure take a lot longer.
 Almost every lunch, we eat with members, and I'm actually able to follow the conversation, right, and without fail every time during the meal the family or whoever's talking will turn to me and try and talk to me. They think their talking slow but they aren't, haha, and every time they look at me my mind just goes blank... its kinda frustrating, but it's so hard to understand the older people, parents, grandparents. and I want to chip into the conversation during dinner but it's scary cause I'm not 100% sure what they said, ya know, did she have ten kids or did her friend have ten kids, little details about what the person is saying are hard to catch sometimes.
The scariest moment this week was when we were walking to one of our lessons and a police car passed us (which was like a ford focus BAHAHA) but after it passed us it stopped and we were passing it when the passenger window rolled down. OH SHOOT! let me describe these chaps... picture a HUGE Brazilian with a bunch of gear, vests, batons, pistols, and those awesome looking German hats, and a mustache. He pokes his head out the window and gestures us over, at first I was like cool! Three guys in a really small car, but then he started talking to me and pointing at me and I was like... Uh Oh.. I thought he was asking for my citizenship papers, (which I did have) but he was pointing at my hands... uh, Ya wanna cuff me?? but after a while I figured it out. He had had the lessons from missionaries in the past and was wondering if I had a CTR ring on, haha, WHEW! Then he went about asking the usual questions... oh are you from Provo? Yeah that was super scary but awesome.
One of my more frustrating moments this week,... we had a goal to get all our progressing investigators to church this week, so we went on splits with two guys from our ward to go around and gather our sheep, haha. I went to a house that had three possible people to come to church, but the doors and windows were shut and it was dark inside, not good. But I knocked anyway. A lady answered that I'd never seen in the house before and I asked her the names of each our investigators if they were in and everyone of them she said had left, disappointing. We visited the house later that night and one of our leading investigators was actually in the house and was waiting for us, but I swear the lady said she wasn't. But because she didn't make it to church, she can't be baptized this week, but two weeks down the road, because of me!!! Ah frustrating, but I'm fine, I'm cool, I'm good, haha.
 I love being a missionary and having the opportunity to focus on the gospel and helping others, my testimony grows each and every day..
 Love you all so much and I pray for you every day
Love Your Missionary
 Elder Ralph


September 17, 2012

Hello familia!
  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ELIZABETH AND SUSAN! Sure wish I could be there to give ya a big ol' hug :)
 I hope everything's going well and you're all alive and doing dandy, haha.
 Haha, not gunna lie, its kind of weird typing in English, haha.
   Where do I start! well I left Sao Paulo at 3 in the morning, took a plane to Brasilian, and then to Maceio. Our group almost missed our flight twice! haha. We landed and were greeted with a warm welcome from the mission president, his wife, his assistants and secretaries. It was awesome. President Gonzaga and his wife are extremely nice and spunky, haha. We went to their house, had an awesome meal, an interview, and then were assigned our companions. My trainer is awesome, his name is Elder Honorato. He's from Parana, a state in Brazil. He's been out 6 months and speaks "nada" English, haha, oh and we're the only ones in our house. So I am forced to only speak Portuguese which I really enjoy, that's why it's so hard to type in Portuguese (English?), haha. It's funny my whole screen is underlined red cause it's in English. My companion is awesome. He always tells me he loves me and says I'll be a great missionary and I really, really hope that's true. Our area in called Canada.... oh yeah I forgot to tell you, I got transferred to CANADA, "Gooday mate," haha. No, Canada is an area just off the coast of Maceio so if you ever look at a photo of Maceio all the huts and shacks that are in the background... that's my area. It's one of the poorest in Maceio. So much poverty and insanitation, but the people are so happy and receptive to us, it's amazing to see how people can be so happy with so little.
  This past Saturday I was able to baptize one of our investigators.... ALREADY! That was an amazing experience, my first week already having the opportunity to baptize a young man, I didn't understand everything he said to me, hahaha, but he's really cool. Another experience... a girl was baptized last week but couldn't come to church to get confirmed... and guess who has two thumbs and got to confirm her.... this elder, haha, yeah uh, that was probably the scariest things I've ever done, giving a blessing in a language that I hardly knew, to a girl a didn't know and to a ward that I would be with for the next 12 weeks yeah that..... was scary, but I did it, hopefully they understood what I said, nobody laughed, haha, that's a good sign, haha.
   My companion is awesome and so is the ward. He's teaching me so much. We got a call from a boy in the ward that said his friend wants to be baptized, so we went there, taught him everything, all the lessons all the commitments and he's being baptized this Friday!!!!! Crazy huh, he talked to the missionaries before but he turned it down, but now he knows for sure that it's true, I'm not exactly sure how he knows for sure but he does, and he's willing to change his life. Awesome! Everyone is willing to hear our message it's awesome.
 I don't know why but I feel very comfortable being in my area, I don't know why but... this may sound bad but... I love poor people, haha.
   I love being a missionary, I love my mission, my companion, Brazil, the people of Maceio. I love my family SO much and I think of each and every one of you every day.
 I really hope you all are doing well and are safe.
Your missionary, Elder Ralph


9/4/2012 8th Week

I think this is the address for the mission home...

Missão Brasil Maceió Av. Dom Antônio Brandão, 333
Sala 402 - Farol
57021-190 - Maceió/AL

First off..... Happy birthday Jonathan! my big bro! Hope you had a great birthday and that it was one to remember. One of my earliest memories that I can remember with you, Jon is... we were riding on the 100 motorcycle, I was on the front you were driving and we built a jump in the garden that is on the north side of the house, we were jumping it together and then we jumped it so high one time that the bike almost tipped backwards, you fell off the back and ended up standing on your feet and I can remember holding onto the handle bars for dear life, scared to death haha and I'm pretty sure that was the last time I rode on the motorcycle with you haha good times.
Gosh I'm totally jealous that you guys are going riding without me! And you went together, taking Jersey with you and Michelle. But I've had my fill of riding for the next two years, just don't break 'um, haha.
Okay this week... starting at the beginning of last week I was sick, I had the same cough that I had when I first arrived here at the CTM, don't worry I'm all good now. But the annoying part was that I totally lost my voice! So the whole week my voice was cracking and squeaking during lessons and we also sang "Lead Kindly Light" on Sunday... that was interesting, haha, but no worries we're all good now.
Probably the most interesting thing that happened this week actually happened yesterday, yesterday we went proselyting. We had a total of 28 Book of Mormons for 10 missionaries. Elder A and I had 6. We ended up getting rid of all of them, rather quickly, we ran into a guy who spoke English and I was actually able to tell him everything that I wanted to. AND I made him cry. It was an awesome feeling to just talk and know what you're saying is correct. Like I was just talking, it wasn't rehearsed or practiced, it was seriously the spirit. I honestly never told that to anyone, explained the Book of Mormon, its importance or I can't even remember what I said but it made sense and it was awesome!!!
We also ended up talking to a lady outside her house, then her mother came out and talked to us too, in Portuguese, then once we started explaining who we were and why we were here the mother started crying, then she explained why and that's when we're not exactly sure what she said, something about her son, we think something happened to him or he died. We talked about the Plan of Salvation, and God's love for us and by the time we left both the mother and the daughter were in tears and both of them wanted a Book of Mormon. The spirit was so strong. I only wish that we could have understood everything they said cause we know that the church can comfort them and bring them peace in their life, ya know. But we did the best we could.
Our other Book of Mormons were given to a man outside a store, two catholic boys, and a man at a bus station. All of them took them gladly and were very kind in listening to our message, the two boys were actually very interested and asked a lot of questions. It was so hard to understand everything they were talking about, because we know religious talk... ya know, like once they started talking about anything else besides church, we can only catch a couple words and piece them together and hope we're saying the right things, and usually we don't, haha, but it's fun and it's a learning experience.
I've seriously have grown to believe that faith and fear cannot exist in the same being, you can't be afraid to go up and talk to someone, you can be afraid to start a sentence that you might not know how to say... at the beginning of last week I was asked to teach a lesson on the spot in front of the class and I destroyed it! I did so good!
random things.....
Mom you know that finger snappy thing you do, well all the Brazilians know how to do it and none of the Americans, except for this one, haha, or they aren't very good at it, thanks for teachin' me that, haha.
Elder Oaks grandson is here at the CTM.
I'm craving OREO's haha
Gotta run, might not be able to email next week cause were leaving !!!!!!!!!!!!!