Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment

Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment
Serving in God's Army


13 May 2013 - Feliz Dia Das Mães‏

   No I don't dream in Portuguese, matter of fact I don't even remember the last time I dreamed, I sleep like a rock caused I get home completely wasted, haha.
   This Sunday I gave another talk in sacrament meeting. I Love Talking, haha.
   This week me and my companion spent a great deal of our time running after our investigators who are due to be baptized this week. One of them is a mother of a young girl who was baptized about a month ago. Her doubt is only in herself. She feels that SHE isn't ready to be baptized. She is reading the Book of Mormon and believes that its true, she knows that she needs to be baptized but has fear ( I think) about the future, that she will commit sin or do something wrong. I don't know she's a complicated lady, haha, but I love her to death. She's so funny! The other day she put down sticky tape that is used to catch mice and cockroaches, when they walk across it they get stuck. She caught 8 little rats in her house and caught two while we were teaching her. The way that she reacted was SO funny. She was like HAHA I got you little bugger! Hilarious. She knows what she needs to do, and this week we're going to be very firm with her.
   Last Sunday we were trying to find where a certain person lived when a man came up to us and said, everything we need to know is in the Bible. We ended up going to his house and teaching him. He has a number of problems with the Word of Wisdom but he wants to change and wants to be baptized. We've been teaching him pretty slowly and have been making goals for him to stop drinking and smoking. So far he has stopped drinking but smoking is hard for him. This Sunday when we walked into the Sacrament Meeting room he was there sitting on the bench alone.... He arrived before we did! I honestly didn't think he would come! Cause he lives super far from the church.
   This reminds me of something that my companion is helping me with, to not judge people. I've noticed this past week that I tend to judge before I really know. This man showed that that is really true. I need to have more faith in people, have more hope that they will complete commitments and really change.
   I'm learning a lot. I'm learning things about myself, how I need to change and better myself. I'm learning more about the gospel of Christ, how it's perfect and how it is a blessing in our lives.
   I'm so happy that I have the opportunity to serve. I know that what I'm doing is right.



6 May 2013 - Semana Boa

   Thinks Week had a slow start. It seemed like everything week did wasn't working out for our benefit. Like every appointment that we made seemed to fall through, people weren't at home (including the lady with the rebellious daughter) and everything just seemed out of place, like lost. But halfway through the week we decided to work more with the members in our ward. We invited one sister to visit the mother of a recent convert. The recent convert is a young girl that I baptized with my last companion. When we visited the young girl the mother said she wasn't ready to be baptized but allowed her daughter to be baptized if she really wanted to and if she really believed that what we said was true. So now we are working with her mother again. We've decided to teach all of the lessons to her again a invite her again to be baptized. Again she brought up the "problem that she had". In my mind I was thinking of some crazy possibilities of what this women is doing that would inhibit her to be baptized. After three months of gaining her trust I finally got her to tell me what her problem was....... She told me the story of a young lover that she had when she was 25 years old. She said that this man wants to separate from his wife and marry this mother that we are teaching and she wants to legally marry him. She said that he is thinking about doing this..... WHAT?! That's not even a problem! Haha Yeah I thought her problem was way worse than it actually was. She can be baptized as long as she keeps the law of chastity when this fellow comes around. This mother came to church yesterday and arrived a little late because of her daughter and said that she will come by herself next time so that she won't arrive late. :D She is reading the Book of Mormon and becoming more and more affiliated with the members which is AWESOME! :)
   We also brought another young man to church and he meshed perfectly with the youth in our ward. After church he asked where he could buy a white shirt and tie :)
   So we've been working more with the members, going out with them, teaching with them and they are showing us where all the less active members live. The less active members are giving us references of people that we can visit!!! WoWho!
   So the work is coming along GREAT! My companion is still awesome, I love the guy. Yesterday we had a companionship inventory for two and a half hours! We were just talking about how we can better ourselves and help each other grow. It was tense but it really helped us both. I really believe that I am learning how to be more patient and humble. I'm so thankful that I have the opportunity to train Elder Almeida. And I'm so happy to be a missionary and serve the Lord.
Elder Ralph

29 April 2013 - Sempre Melhorando!‏

Hello Family Dearest!
   This Week was all improvement! We were able to meet a number of goals this week. Lessons taught, new investigators, lessons with members and visiting less active members. All of our numbers are improving and my companion and I are super excited to start this week.
   Tuesday we had a Zone meeting and President and Sister Gonzaga showed up! I love hearing them, haha, they are super intelligent and know how to give fire to the Missionaries to make them want to work hard and follow all the rules. Every time we meet with them they tighten up the rules. Clarifying gray areas and cutting out loop holes. I love it when they do that, when they draw the line tighter and tighter. Because we always have more success when we follow the rules or even exceed the rules. One bonus to having a meeting with the President is that he brought the letters and packages to all the missionaries in SERGIPE. So..... I GOT YOUR PACKAGE! Thanks a bunch you guys, I loved the phase 10 and all the yummies :) ( who's the guy on the shirt?) Samuel can respond to that question I bet. hahaha Oh and I got Sarah's letter if you could let her know that that would be awesome:)
   One thing that I'm starting to notice about myself is that the things that I used to like back at home I really don't like on the mission. A few examples for ya´ll. Dogs.... I hate dogs. I used to love dogs but now....can't stand them. Just because they bark at us, haha, it just starts with one then all the dogs in the whole street start barking and people come out of their houses, see us and then quickly run back inside, close all the windows and doors and pretend that no one is home.... Motorcycles... I used to love motorcycles but now whenever I see one I get home sick until it's out of sight and they are really dangerous. I've almost been hit many time by motorcycles. And rain... I used to love rain but now.... it's awful walking in the rain with a shirt and tie and scriptures.... Cause everything gets soaked, your pen will stain your shirt, pages in your planner are all stuck together... It's just the pits, haha, but once your completely soaked everything goes back to normal and you just accept that your drenched. This past week even till today it's rained every day. But at times it's a blessing cause people feel sorry for us and let us into their houses or garages and we get to converse about the gospel and the work that we do as missionaries.
   This week I had an eyes infection so my eye was all puffed up and reddish-purple and hurt every time I had to blink but it's all better now, more or less, haha. Love ya mom!
   One thing that I've been able to see this past week in the members is that they are so much more willing to help me and my companion that they were to help me and my last companion. They have been giving us references, helping us teach less active people and asking if they can tract with us. It's SO cool! and they have been asking us to teach family home evening lessons! IF you have any ideas, I would gladly accept them :)
   One lady that we have been teaching this past week really stood out to me. After the lessons that we taught her, we gave her a pamphlet that she could read and study. On the back of the pamphlet there are about ten questions that ask about what is in the pamphlet. This lady, about 35 years old, has so much fire and really wants to learn about our church. She studies and answered all but two of the questions.... (I've never seen someone do that since I've been on my mission. She answered about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, EVERYTHING. The questions that she didn't answer tied in perfectly to the lesson that we were about to teach. It was awesome and we're super excited for her. And she has a rebellious 12 year old daughter that we're trying to whip into shape, haha.
   I'm loving my mission. Loving my companion, the members, the investigators, Everything.
Love you guys so much!


22 April 2013 - Uma semana cheia de Opportunidades‏

 Hello Family Dearest, 

Thanks so much for the e-mail! Means a Bunch!
   Everyone's in Utah? Ah how cool is that! Sure do wish I could be there with you guys to send Sarah off on her mission. But I'll see her when she gets back, hahaha :)
   This Week was good! I went on splits with my district leader... That was nerve racking! Before we started he said. "alright so I'm gunna be looking at how you teach, how you make contacts so just act normal as if I was your actual companion". HA Yeah I was so nervous and I forgot how to speak Portuguese that whole day. But at the end of the day I really learned a lot. I learned a bunch about how I could use my time more wisely when I organize and plan the day. I learned that from the actual contact or talking to the person I can identify so much more than I initially thought. I learned that I need to be more direct in saying what I know, like I need to say with more frequency that I know that this church is true and that it is the only true church on the face of the earth. The rest of the week I was able to apply what I learned on splits with my LD with my own companion and the week went great. I'm excited for this next week because we will have an entire week to apply what I learned, wahaha!
   All yesterday and today it's been pouring rain, like thick, soaked to the skin wet, haha, But I liked it :) I'm gunna have to wrap all my little booklets and planner with plastic bags if this rain continues into tomorrow. During this week I've had many opportunities to talk to Jehovah Witnesses, I've been invited to many meetings in their kingdoms ( it's what they call their chapels) and have been given a lot of Jehovah material. But on the flip side I've been able to invite and talk to JWs about our religion, what we believe and what is really true. I'm so thankful that God restored the true church of God and that I have the opportunity to represent his church.
   No matter how much a missionary practices and studies defensive material about Joseph Smith the church , prophets, I believe that God can shut the mouths of missionaries or in my case, cause that missionaries forget the foreign language that they've been studying for the past 9 months haha. I've had the chance to meet a lot of closed hearted people recently. And there have been so many things that I've wanted to say but nothing comes out. And I just feel so sad for the person.
   My companion and I are doing great! We really get along great :) He thinks I'm funny, haha, I don't know why.... I tend to do stuff to entertain myself, like dance, sing, or other random things that don't have descriptions, haha. It's a way to de-stress, haha. One thing that I have been able to do in my areas is make friends with the members, adults and the kids. Having the right balance between entertainment and spirituality and respect... and I've been here for three months already, So everyone knows me right... This past Sunday the bishop asked me to say the opening prayer.. He announced my name and everyone started chuckling, hahaha.
   I love my area and my companion, the members are great and are helping us a ton! We have received a ton of references for this next week! :D
   Drive Safe!

15 April 2013 - Elder Almeida

   I bet you're all super pumped to know where I was transferred to and who is my companion, and if I'm training or not so I'll get right to telling ya'll.
   So the secretaries called and said that I was transferred and that I had to pack my suitcases and go to Maceio. So I went and when the transfer meeting started and the secretaries started calling out names to where people will go. I have been called to train in Santod Dumont, and for those of you who are keeping track of things..... That's where I've been for the past three months. I wasn't transferred, the secretaries (Americans) read the transfer sheet wrong. So I had to return to the same house and unpack everything again. Such Frustration. BUT the best part of this past weekend is getting my new companion. I have been assigned to train Elder Almeida, a Brazilian from Goiás. He's awesome! I call him little Chris Brown 'cause I think he looks like Chris Brown. He's such a great guy and wants to work real hard and follow all the rules which is a blessing. He's already helped me quite a bit this past week with my Portuguese and I've had plenty of opportunities to talk to him, the new elders in our house and our investigators. As a senior missionary I have a rear load of responsibilities. But! I LOVE it, I feel like I'm doing more like I'm fulfilling my responsibilities more fully. With these responsibilities comes pressure which I have Totally felt this week, but pressure is good :) I feel like I've been given an opportunity to grow and better myself! And I'm so totally stoked for it!
   This week was rather short because I had to go to Maceio to get my companion and we didn't get back till Thursday. But in the small amount of time that we had to work we were able to find an amazing family. A family with four little kids that remind me of my nieces and nephews, and the wife kind of reminds me of Jessica, haha. The only problem with this family is that the parents are not married and their relationship is a little bit weak. It's hard to find couples that are happy with one another. During this week I have been able to see how the Holy Ghost really helps the missionaries teach. There were many times this week when I didn't know what to say or wasn't sure how to make an answer but the Holy Ghost helped me to find the words and explain things in a manner understandable.
   I am so happy that I have the opportunity to train, to grow, and to be a servant of the lord. I know He lives and I know that He is watching over all of us.

Elder Ralph