Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment

Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment
Serving in God's Army


24 February 2014

   Oh no sorry that you didn't get my e-mail last week I thought I sent it. I probably closed the e-mail before it was sent... I was kind of in a hurry last week!

   Well this week was a good one. We contacted a reference that we received from a member in the ward of a man named George and his wife Eliane. They are great! The first thing that Eliane told us is that she was Catholic and won't change religion and then left the room, haha, it was funny but we started talking with George and got to know him and then we called Eliane back in a sneaky way haha. We got to talking with her and she really is a great person. We found out that there is way more to her that meets the eye. She is Catholic but doesn't believe in the Catholic church. She has already received answers to prayers that she needs to attend another church and that it will be better for her. She really knows that she has received this answer. BUT her family is catholic and she doesn't want to offend her parents or her family. She prefers to not offend her family and then offend God... And the funny part is that she KNOWS that she is wrong.... yeah it's very interesting. But during that lesson with her and her husband, I really felt like we were being guided by the spirit, that the spirit was guiding us in what to say and what to ask. We taught the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and at the end we invited her and her husband to be baptized and they accepted the challenge. It was great! And at church the member that passed the reference was thrilled!
   I realized this week that I need to be more patient. We had a baptism this week and boy did things not go smoothly. I know that patience is an attribute of Christ, He is patient. But how? how do you be patient when things aren't going right and could be so much better. My mission president told me once, be patient with the slowness of progress or slowness of people. Yeah it's something that I still need to work on. I don't react well when I get impatient.
   Well hello Family Dearest that I love so much. Thank you all for all of your support and prayers.
   This week was cut short because we had to go to Maceio for a Zone conference with the Presidente and the staff. It was a great trip and I got to read the Book of Mormon almost the whole time, until exhaustion got the best of me. At the zone parts, my little trainee, Elder Martins bore his testimony in front of everyone, which was really good and spiritual. We were passed a lot of trainings that both me and my comp need to improve on. And we have already been able to see the results of them. The President talked a lot about obedience and how when before this world we were all obedient to the Lord's plan and chose to come to this earth. But we were blinded by the veil and started doing things wrong. He said that it seems like there is a veil in the mission too. That before the mission no one decides that they will be a slacker or be disobedient to the rules, neither in the MTC or the mission home. But it's when we come into the field and start to live with other people and act for ourselves. It was really cool and TRUE. I think it really helped my companion Elder martins who is starting his mission. We have had a lot of talks about obedience and the importance of it and I feel that the president reinforced what we have been talking about being obedient.
   So I've been talking a lot about this lady named Sara. She is a sister of a member. She is super excited about the church and the teachings in the Book of Mormon. She started out reading the Book of Mormon about a month ago and has already finished 2 Nephi. She has been reading and comparing it to the Bible. Dates, teachings, the destruction of Jerusalem and the parts from Isaiah, she is really going in deep. And she now knows for herself that the Book of Mormon is true. She believes in it. She said that every time she reads it she can understand everything and learns so much. She really believes that the spirit is guiding her and teaching her. It is amazing teaching her because I feel like I'm learning too. I don't know how it happen but example come so easily into my head, examples that I've never used before that help her with her difficulties. She wants to be baptized so badly but unfortunately she works Saturday and Sunday every week as a NURSE! AH FREAKIN NURSES! (mom :) BUT she can switch one shift a month with another person. So once a month she will be able to come to church. We had the baptism marked for this coming week but she has to take a test this week to see if she can get a job in another city and will be able to come to church every Sunday! So we're praying that she passes this test and gets this job! YEAH!
   We are also teaching another couple who are really special. They always have a big smile on their faces when we come. This past week we gave them the Book of Mormon to read and pray about. When I was explaining about the Book of Mormon, I just felt like I wasn't making sense and that I was explaining things that were unnecessary. But they said that they understood and were excited to read and get to know the book. I got to thinking that it is really not us missionaries that teach people about the Gospel. It is really the spirit that teaches and guides the thoughts of the investigators. Sometimes I feel like I don't know what I'm saying but just say something, and everything turns out just fine. I know that the spirit really does work through the Lords servants. I learned that last night too. We decided to talk to our neighbor and give him a Book of Mormon. He asked us a bunch of questions about what we believe, salvation, doctrine... It was great! He even gave us mini bibles! Cool! He had trouble accepting the thought of the Book of Mormon being the word of God like the Bible but we will let the Book of Mormon convince him of that. He also showed me the first verse in John. They talk about the Word, being Christ and God. And that God is Christ that they are one and a few other scriptures too!
   I am so thankful to our Heavenly Father that we have prophets to help us understand the scriptures, because there really is a lot of confusing stuff written in that HUGE book :) I love this church I know it's true and I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!
   Elder Ralph


10 February 2014 -- HELLO!

   Well my dearest family! First off I just wanted to thank you guys for all the support that you give me. All your prayers, your thought and all the precious little things that you all have done on my behalf. They really do help. Thank you.
   This week went by really fast. On Tuesday me and Elder Luis, an elder that I live with, went to Maceio for a leadership meeting with the Mission President his wife the AP and the secretaries. The trip was very exhausting. We left Tuesday afternoon and got back on Friday morning. But as always the meeting was great. I love talking with the Mission President and Sister, they are so full of love and energy and they radiate it to everyone around them. And talking with them gives people a drive to work hard and baptize everyone! After the meeting I just wanted to get back home as soon as possible to get to work and find those special people that God has prepared for me and my companion to find and teach, Those elects. I know they exist. So I was full with this energy to get back home and… we missed the bus! We called the bus station to see when the bus would leave and they said 6 o'clock. But when we got there at 5:30 they said the only bus was 6 AM and not PM… Ahhh man! So we had to sleep in Maceio to wake up early and catch the bus. But the energy was still there.
   One of the bummers of this week was with a young man that we brought to church, we have been teaching him and his mom together. We think that this young man might not be all there, if you know was I mean. But this Sunday he said he could come but his mother couldn’t make it. Well we brought him to church showed him around a bit and he got to know some of the members and then we went to priesthood. About a half an hour into the lesson he got up and said he needed to leave. We talked a bit and he said he has been trying to find the right religion and that its not this our religion. He said he will just stay with the religion that he was with. We ask what happened and why and so on but it didn’t make a difference. He said that our religion is complex or complicated… But he couldn’t explain why. Needless to say it was extremely hard for me to handle. It was the first time in my mission that someone left the church with a decision made that the church isn’t for them… But I did my best.
   Another hard part of this week was seeing the principles of the Gospel class. Last week we had about 20 people in the class, which was really good. But this week we had 2. I got to thinking, what am I doing here, what difference am I making, what am I doing wrong? I couldn’t get these negative thoughts out of my head. It wasn’t until we went into the chapel and the sacrament was being blessed that I finally understood. Thinking of Christ and how much He suffered and how the people didn’t understand His purpose and didn’t accept Him and His teachings. It makes sense. At times I ask myself why things don’t go better, but then I remember Him and what He went through. It was easy for Him. I know that this church really is the church of Christ. He is our leader, our head, our example and our model. I am so thankful for the testimony that I have of the gospel and the work that I am doing. I know it's true.
   On a happier note one of our investigators is changing her work schedule to work every other Saturday and Sunday so she can come to church! We are way excited for her! And this Saturday we will most likely have a baptism of a teenage girl.
   I am so happy to be on my mission, I'm learning so much and loving it!



3 February 2014 -- YES

   One of the highlights this week was teaching a lady named Sara. She is a sister of a member of the church who lives literally a 30 second walk from the church. We went to this member's house to have lunch and guess who was there?, Sara. After getting to know her a little bit she told us that she wanted to learn more about her sister's religion and wanted us to teach her about it. (This normally doesn't happen). So we mark an appointment with her that week and gave her a pamphlet of the restoration to read until our next visit. And when we showed up later that week to teach her, she had read the whole thing and had many questions ( This normally doesn't happen). She understood everything about prophets and apostles and the church of Christ but when Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon came into the picture she became very confused and didn't know why or how. 
   She really couldn't get a hold of it and wanted the answers and she asked us sincerely to explain it (This normally doesn't happen). She wanted to know details. So we gave her details. We taught in a way that I've never taught before. When we were talking about the Book of Mormon she still didn't understand exactly the purpose of the book, or why God had this book written. Then I remembered something that I read in the Book of Mormon a few weeks ago. It talked about how Lehi was a decendent of the tribe of Israel, the covenant people of God and how the promises were with him too! So I started to explain this to Sara and how Lehi brought with him a record of his fathers or the Old Testament (This normally doesn't happen). And that right there was the game winner, the Grande Salami, the final stretch! It seemed that everything clicked for her. 
   She said she always wanted to know how God treated the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. Why would God forget about some of his children and make covenants and promises with another group of his children. After that moment it was easy to see that her heart was opened and she just listened in concordene with everything that we taught. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. That it is the word of God, written for us, that we may know for fully the nature of God, who he is, and how he loves us.
   The only problem with Sara is that she works every Sunday. 24 hours and goes to college during the week. She is a nurse and is going to law school! So she is super busy and can't come to church with us on Sundays. But God really is Good. We were waiting at church for our investigators to show up and out of nowhere came Sara! She said that she really wanted to see what the church is like so she switched her shift with a friend and will start working on Sundays this coming week! She came to church! And Loved it. The members really took her in well. 
   She really liked the testimonies and the prelude, "Ye Elders of Israel" sung by four missionaries... Yeah out of the blue a lady asked us to sing a prelude and we choose "Ye elders of Israel". It was really good except for the last word of the last verse. I totally said the wrong word! Haha oh Well :) I love being a missionary!