Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment

Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment
Serving in God's Army


26 Nov 2012

     Attention Everyone! Please bust out the popcorn and pretzels cause this is gunna be a long letter haha. I felt horrible this past week that I wrote so little that I want to make it up to ya´ll.
     So two weeks ago Sunday I taught Gospel Principles class on prayer which was a pretty easy topic, it went so well that I decided to do it again one week ago. That time the lesson was on Priesthood.... yeah there was only one lady in the class that Sunday so it was pretty interesting haha I was hoping that there would be more men so I could grill them about their Priesthood responsibilities haha, but no, that didn't happen. And just to clarify it wasn't because I was teaching again or that I taught the week before that people didn't show up haha. Then this past week my companion and I were asked to talk in Sacrament meeting. I was going to go second and him third. I talked about missionary work and how every member is a missionary, and he talked on charity and love. So let's just say I didn't sleep well this week haha but it went okay. When the meeting started the bishop leaned over and told us that the first speaker didn't show up so I would be going first my companion second and he would speak third. GREAT! so I went first started off made everyone chuckle a little bit then before I was even a third way into my talk the secretary gave me a piece of paper that said my time was up, ahhhh. I was just getting warmed up, haha. It was probably because they didn't understand what I was saying, haha, but it went well and everyone said I did a great job, haha. I can't tell if they were lying or not haha.
     This past Tuesday we had zone conference where all the newbies had to get up and bare their testimonies in front of all the mission and the mission president. That was crazy scary.
     Another interesting thing that happened these past few weeks, my intestines haven't really been working. Thanks to laxatives I feel much better, haha.
     Sorry but duty calls and I have to cut this letter short too. I love you all and I am so thankful for your prayers and for your support. Love you and miss you so much


19 November 2012

Dear Everyone,
Happy Birthday to Katelyn! Happy, Happy Birthday! Parábens pra você! Oooh I just wanna sqeeze her! haha Oi did she get my letter?
Still no boxes sorry.. BUT tomorrow we have a zone meeting so maybe there will be boxes there. Cross your fingers!
But this past week I was able to get a letter from Elder Chayce Baldwin, an Email from Elder Sabin and Letter from Carli Treu! Woot Woot :) Hopefully the letters I wrote back will make it this time:)
This week was a little bit slower than normal. There was a fiada, some sort of celebration three out of the five days this week where almost all the stores are closed and everyone, honestly everyone goes to the beach. It was hard to find our investigators, and the ones we did find weren't sober enough to talk to... it was sad, one of our investigators who stopped drinking coffee, stopped smoking and stopped drinking beer, gave in because her friends came over with alcohol. She saw us coming and locked herself in her house, and her friends said she wasn't home. That was a bummer, but if she's still willing we're gunna keep working with her. Its difficult being lied to especially when you saw blatantly the truth. So this week we focused more on our recent converts, answering questions, making questions, and inviting them to activities. It was good. One of our recent converts, a young bright girl 12 years old, who already finished reading the Book of Mormon, was able to go to the temple this past week. Every couple of months the stakes get together and take a caravan down to the Recife temple. She was able to go there and do baptisms for the dead. We're super excited for her. Her mom is 100% supportive of her and the church, in fact today they invited us over for lunch, just to talk and be company. Its weird in my area we work a lot with kids. The parents want their kids to have a better life, to have religion, to have the blessings that religion brings and to keep them away from the things of the world that are very prevalent here in Maceio. But the parents are unwilling to change themselves, to set the example for their kids. In the end the kids fall back into the traditions of their parents. I hope that someday all the parents will realize that they can change and set a better example for their kids.
So Monday was my birthday right, just in case ya´ll missed it, haha, When we got home that afternoon from P-day, we got a call from a member of the church who asked for a blessing. We went to his house and there was a big birthday surprise for me, balloons, members of the Ward. It was really cool and I was super surprised.
Sorry, but this is all the time I have. Don't be mad, I promise next week will be longer.


12 Nov 2012 Happy Birthday Elder Ralph

Well let me just start by saying that I love you guys So much! Thank you all for your Birthday Wishes and your love and support. Your prayers, your e-mails and Letters everything. Love you all and miss you so much.
Yup I'm 20 years old... Woah... I'm OLD! hahaha I'm not a teenager anymore wowho! Yeah it's weird that my birthday is already here. :)
Got a letter from Elder Sabin this week! :) Miss that kid.
Sunday my companion was asked to give a talk in sacrament meeting, so I was delegated the opportunity to teach Sunday school...... UH.. Okay haha I was able to choose my topic so I chose an easy one, prayer, prayer, prayer. It went pretty well but I kinda felt like I was telling them things they already knew, but that's alright. I was able to find some pretty cool examples of the importance of prayer that even I didn't know before-hand. So mother dear, if you have any tips on teaching let me know. Cause I'm going to ask if I can teach every Sunday, maybe, hahaha. Wish me luck, I'll need it. :)
(PACKAGES) if you pay over $50 to ship a package because of weight, I have to pay a large amount of money to receive it, and I'm pretty sure they don't let us receive those large packages. I Think haha, so you can send all you want sister Jung anyone, just don't send a frying pan or heavy things, haha. Mother darling, I got your letter this week, because we had a zone meeting this week so the ZL brought the mail. He also brought a huge stack of boxes from the states but none of them were for me... PITTY haha. But we have to go to the mission home this week to drop off things so maybe it will have arrived by then, and if not, hopefully in December haha. The Dutch Ovens are in the shed haha.
The other day a man was brutally shot right outside the house of our investigator, the man wasn't caught, and the reason was unknown. That was for you, Mom<3 haha
This week was really busy but we didn't get a whole lot done. We had a lot of meetings both for the mission and for the ward which both consume an hour of walking each way, a lot of walking this week. BUT, oh my goodness, I can't believe that was this week. So Thursday we planned an activity for our ward, they could invite their friends, family, we invited random people that we came across, everyone right, right. We made little invitations, bought food, whole nine yards, for missionaries we were pretty darn prepared. The activity was that we would give every person, five paper dollars, and they could use it to buy food drinks, go to a dance room with music and lights, buy more food, go to church and pay tithing but then receive another dollar as a blessing. Then with the money that you had left you could enter into the room of the stars, moon or sun. The room with the stars had juice with salt in it, these roots that you can't eat raw, the room with the moon had saltine crackers and water and the sun room had juice, pop, sweets, everything you could imagine. So it was to help teach everyone about the three degrees of glory. It would have been really cool.
We estimated about 30 people to show up, but we had about 60.... and probably 40 of them were kids from Riojenaldo an area very poor and different right. Well they were a hand full to put it that way haha. I volunteered to help with the dance (before hand), guard the door and encourage people to come and dance! Woot Woot Woot. WoW let's just say it was a good thing I volunteered cause I was probably the only one that could hold back all the kids that were trying to get into the dance. Holy Smokes, that night was probably the largest test of my patience EVER! hahaha. Long story short the kids did something that was beyond disrespectful, and I can't even describe that night it was that awful, haha, unorganized chaos, but I made the decision to make all the kids leave that were yelling disrespecting, vandalizing, hitting. I had to very lovingly force them out of the church, and then guard the door so they couldn't come back in, I stood there denying entry, watching as they verbally degraded me. It had to be done.... the members were appreciative of it though. My companion started to cry when he saw what the kids did to one of the rooms. We had three other sets of missionaries helping us but it wasn't enough... but the best part was that it really brought me and my companion closer together. Afterwards when we made the long walk home we couldn't help but just laugh :) laughing on the edge of crying haha. "never doing that again" haha now we have a lot of stuff to joke about. Man that was a horrible night haha.
Last night we slept at the DL´s house, we slept on the balcony under the stars and the wind! We stayed there cause this morning we went running on the Broadway, right next to the ocean. It Was Georgeous! It's really difficult to run with your head turned to one side the whole time, almost ran into a few people. And I'm outta shape! Running is way different than walking that's for sure. haha
The mission work is coming along great. I'm feeling more and more comfortable teaching people, and just talking in general. It's really cool. I love getting to know people.
Sincerely the Adult Missionary


5 November 2012

Happy Birthday to little Mister Andrew! Big 2! Man that's crazy that they're all growing up, cause the pictures that I have of them aren't changing! Haha He´ll be a chunk when I get back, can't wait to see him. HAPPY BIRTHDAY:)
That's so cool that you got to go to the 5th Avenue Theater for free! I went there once with PBD to "watch burn the floor" (a dance group). What did you see?
That's awesome that Samuel is playing volleyball in school! I love volleyball! Keep it up Samuel! We´ll play when I get back. :) I heard about New York and New Jersey probably sooner than you think, everyone told me about it cause when I say I'm from Washington they think the capitol, Washington DC. so I heard about that pretty quick and it caused quite a worry the first few days, but honestly I forgot about it until I saw that you mentioned it in your e-mail.

This week while I was on a division with another Elder, I had the opportunity to teach a Buddhist lady, but she believed in god... And I taught her in English. Well kind of English, she wanted me to speak English but it was seriously hard to speak English. Words are starting to come faster in Portuguese than in English! Haha. But she asked me some really good questions and some that I wasn't prepared for, like... do you believe in aliens.... HUH? Haha. But one question that she asked me was, "how do you know that there is a god?", "How do you know it wasn't an accident?" "Big boom. Ooooo"... She lived in an apartment building next to the ocean and her floor was pretty high up so I decided to take her to the window that was opened behind me on the other side of the room. I had the idea to show her the ocean all the people, trees, plants, the gorgeous scenery, everything! right... but when I got to the window, it was facing away from the ocean and showed absolutely nothing, Bahaha, That would happen.. But I explained everything and she understood. Woot Woot. We also visited a man who was preparing to be baptized. My temp companion said the prayer, looked at me and said, Elder Ralph, can you explain the importance of going to church? Uhh sure, haha thanks for the warning haha, but I did it and he understood. :) Yeeeaaah haha it was kinda cool to be able to explain something without practicing it or knowing before-hand what to say. Awesome.
We have a new District Leader, an American from Cali who´s really cool and he´s been helping me grow a bunch, both spiritually and with the language.
This week... this week was honestly pretty hard... We had a baptism this week and the only time our investigators could be interviewed by the district leader was 8ish at night. So we did a division. I went to stay at the LD´s house with his companion and he stayed with mine. So I stayed there for two days and we hardly did anything, didn't really teach, didn't find anyone, no one wanted to hear our message. It was difficult. but what was even more difficult was when I got back with my companion it was like everything changed, suddenly we had a bunch more people we were teaching, I was confused, asking questions, there was definitely a big gap between us... which was hard, then we had another division with the second counselor and an RM on Saturday and Sunday, which caused even more separation! So it was difficult I was super confused about everything, I felt like I didn't know anything about our investigators and....ugh it was bad. But with companionship inventory and a lot of pray everything is settling back down to normal. Prayer really does have the power to cast out all your bad thoughts, and give the patience that is required to have the Holy Ghost with you again. Even when the answer is obvious, the power to complete or do what is necessary comes from the Holy Ghost.
One thing, that I'm starting to see more and more, is how amazing these people are underneath. They may be smoking, drinking, tattoos, the whole nine yards, but they really do love God, know God, and really on God. And we're here to rely on him in the right way and to help them realize what he has done for us. We visited an in-active man who´s younger brothers were being baptized and we invited him to the baptism and the confirmation, Saturday and Sunday. He couldn't make it to the baptism but he came to the Sacrament meeting to watch them receive the Holy Ghost. It was such an amazing feeling to see him walk through that door, YES!!! And the members really reached out to him and I think he really enjoyed it. We´ll work more with him this week to get him active again.
Thank you all for your prayers on my behalf. I really do need them. I miss you all so so much. Thank you for taking the time to write me and encourage me, you're amazing.

With Love Unfailing,


29 October 2012

Well it sounds like everything is winding down to the normal pace at home, minus Samuel playing the trumpet, which sounds.... fun haha can't wait to hear him.
 So we had a zone meeting this week and I saw two boxes on the table Oooo.. could it be? but it wasn't it was for two other Americans... "Pitty" :) but I did find out. If you pay more than $50 to ship a box I have to pay like $100 to receive it. So you can send me stuff... just not too much stuff eh? haha
 Oh could you ask Sister Jung for Michael's e-mail address? and Greg's too? Cause I'm aloud to talk to missionaries and I'd really like to keep in touch with them.
 Mom would get an awesome phone... Hey, Dad, tell me how long it takes her to lose it, haha, jokes, jokes, love you.

This week was a slow one... Or it just seemed really long. Thinking back I think it was because last Saturday we had a meeting with the bishopric and we made plans to go on splits Saturday and Sunday to teach lessons, visit less active members and invite inactive people back to church. So it was just gunna be me and a member teaching lessons..... Uh Oh... This made the week long, I was honestly dreading this division. I was super nervous. But it actually went really well! I went with the second counselor, who is huge! Buff! tall, and served a mission ten years ago. It was really nice to have the controls, to be in charge, like he would look at me for the answers, to start lessons, to give a message, to decide what to do. It was a cool feeling. It was like switching places with the driver on the road to Utah, haha, POWER! Haha, it went really well. AND we visited three girls who were less active, shared a message and invited them to church the next morning. And they all came! That's cause there's a new American missionary in town, Wahaha, SMACKS, no no no, we honestly shared a very powerful message with them and were very direct, You need to go to church. It was so awesome to see them at church and the members were even more excited to see them! And it built their confidence in us. Woot Woot!
 I've been able to become a good friend with many members of the ward, especially the sisters that feed us lunch, haha. It seems like all our conversations are about food, haha. Have you tried this? this? this? nope, nope, nope. But I did have octopus this week that was awesome. :) I'm slowly but surely able to understand the people more and more. Like at first you have to think about every... single.... word... and by the time I figure it out they are already down with that sentence and the one that followed. But now it's coming along and things are clicking faster, ya know, ya know. BUT, haha, we were at lunch at a member's house and it was my turn to give the message right,... so I read a scripture that I thought I marked but it was the wrong scripture, bahahah, but I didn't find that out until after I read and explained what I thought it meant to the members. Haha, but I went with it anyway and it was all in all a great message, but the scripture had nothing to do with what I said, Hahaha. Love it! :)
 This week we had the baptism of Two cousins, two great kids who are very bright. They love to ask questions to understand everything completely. So rather than just saying yes I understand they sincerely ask questions in order to understand. And they said that if they made the decision, they want it to be for the right reason and then stick to it. That's where the spirit comes in.... And they're moving to an area that has a really strong ward so hopefully they will grow strong in the gospel. :) They're fun. They facebook stalked me so if they send you a message in poor english I had nothing to do with it :)
 I'm so thankful for the examples, the love and support of my family, each of you have influenced my life in so many ways. You're all so strong.. and Awesome. :) Love you guys So much and miss you more than ever. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay happy, stay fearless.

Love You All, Yes you :)
 Yours Truly,