Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment

Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment
Serving in God's Army


29 July 2013 -Semana Muita Cheia (A Very Full Week)

   This week was filled with running around trying to get everything done. This week our ward had not one but two activities. One was a member integration activity or Mutual for all ages, where everyone goes to just have fun. We planned everything out with our Ward Mission Leader invited all our investigators and everything was jolly. But as the day came around our investigators started pulling the plug on us and NONE of them came to the activity. It was a "Major Bummer" because activities are the best way for the investigators to meet the members out of the normal church environment. Halfway through the activity the Young Women's president asked us if our game was ready.... What Game?! Yeah the person who was assigned to do an activity didn't show up so they gave us the job. So I started looking in all the closets in the church and I found two tents! So we made a little game passing the tent under your legs and over your head! It was good and the people liked it. What my companion and I were actually assigned to was a musical number... WHAT!? Yeah that's right a musical number! So we decided to sing "I Need Thee Every Hour" in Portuguese. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, at least it brought the spirit at the end of the activity. The other activity was really a festival with a live band and dancing! IT was So hard not to dance, so what I did was go around trying to get the young men to dance with the young women or at least with their mothers! Man I felt like I was back at a church youth dance, haha. But even after all our running around inviting people to come to the activity, nobody came... So frustrating
   Sunday we had ward conference and again we ran around trying to invite everyone to the conference, less actives, investigators everyone! And no one came.... WHY! Other than the fact that no one came I absolutely LOVED the conference. The Bishop and the Stake President talked and they were so great!
   At the beginning of this week we had two people that were ready to be baptized but with complications of the world and the influence of others they fell through. I've never had so much hope that came crashing down before this week. So we are going to try and work a little different. Work with different people, a different neighborhood, and with more members. This week was tough but we have a lot of hope for the next week. We're Gunna Work Hard!
   I finished the Book of Mormon in Portuguese this past week. That was super gratifying! Now I'm working on the Doctrine and Covenants! And loving it!


22 July 2013 - Transferencia Emergencia (Emergency Transfers)

Holy Wow this week was an eventful one. It makes me laugh how long this week has felt, seriously its crazy! Let's start with last Tuesday. We were in a district meeting with the AP´s and everything was going great. But then the assistants got a phone call and they said that my companion was to be an emergency transfer! I couldn't help but laugh. I came to this area 3 weeks ago and I don't know where anything is, the members, the roads the neighborhood, nothing! Haha. So that same day we had to be in the mission office with all his stuff. So we went off, we forgot the cell phone, said goodbye to a few members, and packed up his stuff and went to the mission office. When we got there, there were a bunch of Elders in the office and I was scoping around to see which of all the elders would have the great privilege of being my companion! We started asking around and none of the elders were transferred... hmmmm.
But then came in Elder ________ an American that was in the MTC with me and has been having a lot of troubles with his companions. In the MTC I thought to myself, wow that guy is not my cup of tea, haha. And now he's my comp! I've heard a lot of stuff about him. That he's run away from his companion left the house all alone and a few other problems.... different things that he´s done. I remembered a story that mom told about her mission. That she was placed with someone that needed she help and patience. I'm feeling the same way, haha. That's basically what the president said to me when I went in for an interview, he said that Elder _________ needed help and the best way that I could help him was by being a good example. Okay :) But for now everything's going good with him. I'm working on my patience and trying to help him become a better missionary, which is something that he wants as well! So the work for the week finally got started and I realized that I'm going to have to do a lot of the talking. People have difficulty understanding my new comp speaking English. But he tries and that's something that I like. This past week someone asked me if I was imported!!!

Cleaning the baptismal font
   We were teaching a woman whose husband went to jail and we were helping her feel ready for her baptism. While we were teaching her husband who was in jail walked in the door. My heart seriously stopped as I remembered what happened on our last encounter. The woman also had no idea that he was set free and was just as afraid as I was. But it was all chill, he was just there to gather his stuff and go to his other house. But it was a tense moment. 
   It's been amazing to see how God has touched the hearts of some of the people that we have been visiting. Some have made serious sacrifices to go to church, and the hearts of some that didn't want anything have been softened. It's been a long hard road of persistence and patience. But we are starting to see the results!
   I love my mission, my companion, the members and the opportunity to become more and more like Christ, that's my purpose. Thank you all for your love and support and your prayers.


15 July 2013 Semana de Progresso (progressing week)

   This week was good! My companion and I are starting to get on the same page on how we should do the work, how we should teach people and what we can do to just work better. It's been great to see the difference that a little talking has done for the work here. We have many differences but we can get together on the same page when it comes to missionary work.
   Last week I had a startling experience with a man that was drunk and his wife. After that experience many neighbors of the couple were moved because of how alcohol changed the husband. Many of the people that lived nearby decided to listen with more intent to our message and many of them came to church this past Sunday, including one man who also drinks a lot. He came to church and really enjoyed his visit. And the members were very enthusiastic and grateful for our work. One blessing that came from last week's experience was that the woman that was abused has decide to be baptized. She really wanted to before the incident, but used her husband and the fact that they weren't married as an excuse to not go to church. But this past week we were very stern/ loving with her and she for sure felt the spirit and said that she would come to church rain or shine. And she stuck to her word and came to church along with five of her neighbors. It was great! We took up the whole sidewalk, haha.
    This week our Zone leader asked everyone in our Zone to get together in an area to work together and help the branch that was trying to become a ward. We all got there and were divided in groups, some would visit less-actives and others would do contacts in the street and invite people to get to know the church from the inside. The ZL and I went out to talk to people in the street. We almost had no success until the very end when a 15 year old boy accepted our offer to walk the halls of the church. He had a bunch of questions which was great and really liked his visit. Then when he was leaving I spotted a lady walking towards the entrance of the gate and went to go talk to her. She had two young girls and I started talking to her and invited her in to get to know the church and drink a bit of water. She accepted! She liked it and asked for the missionaries to pass by and visit her in her house. All in all the work went really well that day and we helped the ward out a bunch!
    I passed my one year mark! WoooWhooo! To celebrate I drew a bunch of random things on one of my white shirts (one that was stained because my pen exploded on it) and we went to a members house to burn it, haha. It's something that missionaries do, and me being a "pyro" who likes to play with fire, I've adopted the tradition. 6 month in the mission you burn a tie, 1 year a shirt and 1 year and 6 months you burn pants... I already know what pair of pants I'm gunna burn, my Costco pants that were once black but are now brown.
Burning of the HumpDay shirt!

   Everything's going great with me. I'm really enjoying my studies, conference talks, the Bible and the Book of Mormon! It's going great.
   I'm so thankful for the opportunity that I have to serve! I love my mission
   Thank you for all your love and support!
            Elder Ralph


8 July 2013 - Experiencia Tramatica (Dramatic Experience)

    OH.... this week was alright. I started the week off with a major headache and a fever and I wasn't sleeping really well. But I woke up one morning and it went away! But then my companion got sick with the same thing but worse! So the week started a little slow but we're all good now. Friday we were able to have a fireside with Elder Moroni Torgan who is an area seventy. He talked so openly with us I loved it! A few things he said have stuck really well with me. He said that we need to always stay with "the angel". Angels go to bed at 10:30 and wake up at 6:30, angels leave the house at 10:30 sharp. When you're not with angels you're with the devils. He taught us that the followers of Satan are after us. They want us to fall. He talked about the mission being like a race and you have to give your all, everything you have on the last stretch or last few months of your mission. So the fireside really helped me and my companion and we kicked it into high gear and we've changed a few ways that we have been doing the work. We have decided to work more with members, helping them find people that we can visit, that they can invite to church and family home evenings. So far it is going extremely well and the members are helping ALOT. We were able to get 18 references which is a ridiculous number for this area. We're stoked! :)
   So the mission is filled with experiences, one that I've never had in my life and a few that I've never wanted to have in my life. Saturday night we were teaching two women and a few kids about prayer. While we were teaching the husband of the woman we were teaching came home extremely drunk, and rowdy. We ended up finishing the lesson just fine with only a few interruptions, yelling and small arguments. We have been teaching him and trying to help him stop drinking so he could be baptized and marry his wife legally. From the moment he got home I was on my toes and placed my bag on the ground and watched the two of them argue, stop, argue again, then stop. Then it happened. He started hitting her, and I SNAPPED! Before I knew I was on top of him. I ran behind him and held down his arms to keep him from hitting her, he tried many times to throw me off him to set himself free, but I wouldn't let him. I held him there until he calmed down, about two minutes passed and I let him go. I jumped away because I was scared that he would go crazy on me, but I'm pretty sure he was too drunk to notice who was behind him. The woman who was hit called the police and the man went to jail that night. He only managed to hit her two times before I got to him but her face was so swollen, he didn't just hit, he punched, clobbered her. I don't think I will ever forget the sight. I was trembling, my heart racing, and in the end of it I just wanted to cry. It was So Sad, the way that alcohol changes a decent man into a monster. I will never hurt my wife, Never. Everyone was praising me and saying that what I did was so brave and all I could think was that anyone would have done what I did. But talking to the people that were there and even my companion, they wouldn't have done anything and just yelled at him to stop. I believe that God's hand is in the work that we do, He guides us, inspires us, helps us. I know that He put us there to help that poor woman. I can't imagine what would have happened to her if we weren't there. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to serve a mission for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He lives and loves every one of us.
   I love you all so much!
Elder Ralph


1 July 2013 - JARDIM do HORTO (garden of horto)

   Well.... I've been transferred! I've have been assigned to serve in Maceío, in a ward called "Jardims do Horto" (AKA RICH) haha. My companion is Elder Fernandes, from São Paulo. He arrived at the same time as Elder Almeida, the Elder that I trained. He's been in the area for three months and has been my guide helping get from one place to another. He went to the United States as an exchange student and learned English. So I'm helping him refine his English skills and he's helping me out with Portuguese. He teaches really well and has a strong desire to help the members and the people that we teach. We're getting along great.

   Our area is very rich. In our ward almost everyone has toured the United States and works for the government. But the hard part is that our church is a rented house that is rather small and doesn't look like a church. So, it's hard to get people to leave their huge chapel and cathedral to go to our little humble but truthful church. This area is way different than any of my other areas. It will for sure be a challenge for me.
   HA! And to top everything off I've been called to be a district leader again! I have four sets of missionaries in my district..... The Assistants to the president, the Secretaries to the President, and a set of sisters..... Wow! Can you give me more pressure! Please! Oh I forgot something... The president and his wife and family live in my area so they attend MY ward! Ahhhhh! Seriously! Did I do something wrong?! Does the president want to keep a closer eye on me?
   So yeah I'm really liking my area and the people that I have to work with. We're working with members, less active and recent converts. When one person knows about the gospel it's like a forest fire and its spreads to everyone. I'm so thankful for the opportunity I have to serve!!! Yippeee!