Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment

Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment
Serving in God's Army


23 September 2013 - Tranfers

   Well like I said I have been transferred! After cleaning up the house to a T my companion and I arrived at the stake center for the transfer meeting. The bus that brings all the missionaries from Sergipe to Maceío was running late So the president started the meeting and asked a few people to come up and bear their testimony! And guess who was the first missionary that he called... ELDER RALPH. I looked at my name tag in disbelief, haha. Man I went up there and I was SO nervous I was shaking but after a few deep breaths and a couple humorous comments I got composed and bore my testimony about something that happened with me and my companion last week. I talked about serving a mission because I love my Savior! When I sat down I felt so good that I wanted to get back up there and say more, haha.
    So the bus finally showed up and the meeting started. I don't know why but I was super excited! Then the time came and the assistant called out the transfers. I have been transferred to Sergipe and was put with Elder Gubler, an American from Louisiana. I was also called to be an Zone leader... Yeah crazy, A ZONE LEADER! So Elder Gubler and I are in charge of an area that is really cool. It's interstate, or all farms, suburbs, away from all the cities beaches and people. Our Area is called Lagarto (lizard) and we are a branch. And around Lagarto there are a bunch of groups, groups of member that are not big enough to be branches. It's really cool because we get to travel a lot to see other towns and country sides, mainly because everything is separated! Wide open spaces! I like it. For example this past Friday I went to an area that the president recently opened and did six baptism interviews! Six! That's the most I've ever done in one day. I'm with Elder Gubler, who is an awesome chap, way smart, way funny and is finishing his mission. He only has three months left! He's helping me a bunch with my Portuguese and is super spiritual, which is something that I've really been wanting! We live with two other elders. Elder Harris and Elder Novaes who are obedient and hard working! Life is good!
   We are working with some great people, people that have really been prepared by the Lord, people that are basically already members, haha. And it seems as though God is leading these people into our path. At times it feels like we don't even have to work to find new people, haha, we just have to be worthy and do what's right and God puts those people in our path. I love being a missionary.
   As a ZL I get to go every month and have counsel with the mission president to see how we can improve our zones which will be awesome. I'm pretty excited for that.
   Man this week has been so full, so full of spiritual experiences and hard work that I haven't even thought once about home, family, friends, work, school, anything! I love it (no offense) :) I've just been buried in work and more work! It's great!
   I am way excited as you can probably tell. I'm excited for higher expectations, more responsibility, more spirituality and just more! I LOVE IT!

Elder Ralph in Lagarto!


16 September 2013 -- Elder Ralph

   This week started off strong with an amazing district meeting if I can say so myself, haha. I set up a big tent in one of the rooms in the church and made everyone sit inside it while KING BENJAMIN gave his sermon. Haha, everyone seemed to enjoy it. And after the lecture we did practices. I set up situations in three other rooms that missionaries face on a daily basis. I set up TV's, music, a crazy huge family, and a crazy, messy house and put my missionaries to the test. They did quite well, haha.

   The rest of the week was kind of hard. A lot of our investigators became X-investigators. They just don't want any responsibility or don't want to go to a church or just don't want to change their way of life. That's one thing I wish I could do. Just literally SHOW people the blessings that this gospel has in store for God's children. It's so perfect. So the whole week we felt like nobody wanted to talk to us, which in reality they didn't, ha.
   Then finally at the end of the week things started to turn around. We were able to find a few new people to teach that appear very interested and they want to learn more about the church. That always gives a missionary so much energy.
   I did learn one very important lesson this week from my companion. We got done teaching a lesson that didn't go to well and we decided to talk about it and see what we can do to be better. My companion asked me a question that I have been asked SO many times on my mission and I haven't really been able to respond. Why did you come on your mission? That question has been thrown at me so much. And I've given a lot of answers, good answers. But he told me that many missionaries go on their missions for the wrong reasons, not a Bad reason just the wrong reason. He told me that every missionary should want to go on a mission because they LOVE their Savior..... You work because you love your Savior; everything you do is because you love your Savior. Some missionaries go on their missions because they want to teach the gospel.... But when no one accepts them and they aren't "teaching" what will they do? They feel down, they feel like they aren't completing their purpose. So now I'm starting to think more about that, that I am here because I love my Savior. To help me do that I have been studying specifically about Jesus Christ this week and its really been helping. I've been feeling more at peace with the work that I'm doing, that I'm here on my mission and... it's just so much better now, it's hard to explain.
   Then before I knew it Sunday came along and while I was getting ready the bishop called me.... Uh oh. And he asked me if I could give a talk at church, that day, on the miracles of Jesus Christ. Sweet. I accepted. Then I looked at the clock and it was already 8 o´clock and church was at 9. I went to work! Saying a lot of prayers I finally got something pulled together and arrived at church on time. And to top it all off! Guess who came to church that Sunday who usually visits other wards. THE MISSION PRESIDENT.... WHY ME!? But I did it, I was calm and I think it went pretty well. I just stared at the president whenever I looked up to talk, haha. Many people complimented me afterwards. It was a good feeling.
   It was funny that I got to give a talk on Sunday because it was kind of a farewell talk. I have been transferred. Me and my companion. We're outta here.... I'm excited to see what God has in store for me next and I hope that I can keep growing and become more and more like my Savior that I love SO much. I'll find out tomorrow where I go and with who. I let you know next week. Today I gotta go get packed and say goodbye to a few special people :)
   I love being a missionary!


9 September 2013 -- BAPTISM!!!

This week was a full one.
   We have been working with an investigator who has been trying to stop drinking coffee! We have been passing by their home everyday to see how his day was and if he was able to aguent (withstand) the headaches that the lack of coffee has been giving him. He came to church again with his family this week, his wife and his two sons, one that has already been baptized. That Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and many people talked about the baptism that we had last week. We passed by his house and talked to him about his responsibility as a father, what is a happy family and a couple of other things that revolve around the family. He was really touched and said that he wants to raise his sons in a church, raise his family in a church and he said that our church is by far the best! YES! He firmly agreed that he would stop drinking coffee and we made him a two liter bottle of chocolate milk to drink instead of the coffee. We passed by there every day this week and normally I would ask, "Hey how are you doing with Coffee", and he would correct me and say, "you mean how am I doing WITHOUT coffee!" YES!
   It was funny one day we showed up at his house and his wife showed us his coffee thermos and said, look... Coffee! and we went silent.... And this man piped up and said, I can't do it, I need my coffee, I'm sorry, I'm going to drink it. I was tempted to grab the thermos and run out of there, but something didn't seem right, something seemed fishy! They both started laughing and explained that the thermos was full of hot water to make tea and take to work instead of coffee! YES, man I was so emotionally tormented during those two minutes I almost strangled him, hahaha. But he did it. He stopped drinking coffee! He and his wife were baptized this Saturday! One family completed. :) The ward is getting really excited about the missionary work because we are bringing "Men and families" to be baptized and they are helping us a great deal.

   At Church this past Sunday when the man was confirmed he gave everyone in the group that confirmed him a hug and afterwards at the end of the meeting he sang out loud, "I am a child of God." At that moment I really felt like I was completing my purpose as a missionary, helping people come unto Christ.
   This past week I was able to use some of my fixing skills on one of the member's cars that was pronounced as an "unfixable car" that had been passed from mechanic to mechanic and couldn't be saved. I couldn't help it and asked if I could take a look at it. It wasn't half an hour that I got the thing running and found out what the problem was. The bishop passed by and saw us working on it and offered to take us to a "parts store" to buy what the car needed. It was cool! I felt pretty good about myself and the members were impressed. haha Thanks dad:)
Swinging next to a ravine close to where one of our investigators lives. AKA - death!

   Unfortunately this week wasn't as good as we hoped to be. We weren't able to get a hold of our other investigators. They were either not home, sick, traveling or just didn't have time to listen to us. It's hard at times... Sometimes you can feel so obviously that there is an enemy. Someone who works against us, tempts people, makes it so we can't get to them. And sometimes we have to be extremely annoying to get what we want or to complete our purpose. But I love it. It's great! :)
I'm so glad that I'm a missionary and that I have this opportunity to serve a mission. :)


Wall Dancing

Rooftops in our area.


2 September 2013 -- Uma Semana Maravilhosa‏

Wow where do I start...
   This week was amazing! So let's get started. This Saturday that passed we had planned a baptism of Elmano, a golden investigator that we found last week. But the baptism didn't happen as we has planned..... We baptized him AND his wife. His wife Lidia came to church with him and she really felt something, felt peace there at the church among the members and decided to be baptized with him. YES! Before she didn't want to but after going to church and receiving her personal testimony she really wanted to.
   Wednesday we had a zone conference meeting with the president and his wife and one thing they mentioned was making the baptismal meetings more spiritual and memorable. So that gave us a little bit of pressure because we knew that they would come to the baptism, because they are in our ward. So we decided to get really organized. We called the leaders and made a program, got videos to show, a musical number the whole shebang! It was pretty awesome.
   I was asked to baptize Elmano and Lidia´s nephew baptized her. Unfortunately I had to do the ordinance twice cause he stuck his foot out of the water.... But jokingly afterwards he said the he had so many sins that he had to be dipped twice, haha, it was Great.
   After the ordinance we gave an opportunity to Elmano and Lidia to bear their testimony.... It was so spiritual their testimonies. I haven't felt the spirit that strong in quite a long time.

   Many of the members commented to us afterwards that it was the most spiritual baptism they have ever been too. And Sunday during testimony meeting many of the members bore testimony of what they felt. I too felt impressed to go up and bear my testimony but before I got to the front bench where Lidia and Elmano were sitting Lidia got up to bear her testimony. I gladly let her go first. She bore an amazing testimony. She testified about the church, and how we believe in a living Christ, she said that she felt the presence of a living Christ among us, in the church, in the classes. It was so strong her testimony that I didn't want to follow it.... haha, I was thinking, alright bishop we can end the meeting now, haha, but I went, and talked about the Holy Ghost and how it really can touch us. I talked about a few instances in my youth that I remember when the spirit touched me, and how clear I remember it. I talked about how I felt at the baptism and how I will never forget how I felt. They really touched me. The spirit is real and it testifies to us when we are worthy and listening. I'm so thankful for the Holy Ghost and how it has blessed my life and the lives of so many others.
   I love being a missionary. I love this gospel. I love my Savior.