Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment

Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment
Serving in God's Army


29 April 2014 -- Rained Out!‏

Yesterday it rained a lot so the whole city didn't have internet But I'm here now! YOOOOOOO

Dear family and friends.
   This week was great. My new companion and I are working really well together, finding new people, teaching with the spirit and always striving to be more and more obedient. He likes to work hard and always finds things that we can do to be better.

   This week we worked really hard to help a young girl named Tamires be baptized. Ever since we started teaching her, Tamires was always scared to make decisions and just go for it. Last week we almost unmarked her baptism because we didn’t want to push her more than we already were. But then we met Bia. Bia is Tamires neighbor and best friend that started coming to church with us and was absolutely loving it. Bia wants to be baptized so much and wanted to be baptized with Tamires. This gave Tamires a lot of gas and so we continued working with her. But unfortunately Bias parents wouldn’t let her be baptized because they don’t want her to be part of another religion besides their own. That was a major disappointment, but that didn’t get Bia down. She just kept encouraging Tamires every step of the way even to her baptism she was giving her advice and encouragement. It was really special for me to see all this take place. I really do believe that God is in complete control of this work and that he puts people in the right place at the right time. Without Bia I don’t know if Tamires would have taken those steps of faith to baptism but with the help of an inspired friend, she made it. I was touched when I saw what a difference a friend can make in the lives of others, made me want to be a better friend to the friends I have and always strive to make new friendships, always helping people come unto Christ.

   Two of our recent converts came to church this past Sunday with a shirt, tie and black pants. They looked so awesome, haha. They came all dressed up because they wanted to bless the sacrament. So one of the Elders sat behind the bench and instructed them on what to do and what to say and it was really, really great. It was a great feeling to see those two blessing the sacrament and exercising their priesthood. They both want to serve missions and I think they are on the right road to get there. After the sacrament one of the boys, Cicero, gave a talk about service. He was super, super nervous but he prepared a great talk during that whole week and read it to us many times. While he gave a talk he just looked at me the whole time. He hardly even looked down at the paper but just spoke everything by heart on how we should serve our fellow men. It was great! I was sitting on the front row next to the other boy that blessed the sacrament and it seemed like we were all alone listening to him. Everyone was dead quiet, not even a baby made noise. Cicero has been a member for one month… The testimony of that boy is amazing! He passed through so much and is still passing through many difficulties, but he is conquering all of them! Everyone complimented him after his talk! Ahhh, tears, tears!

   Something rather interesting happened a few minutes ago. We went to visit one of our recent converts, Sara, who came a across doubts. But the spirit has been taking away every doubt that she comes up with, haha! Got ya! Teaching her has been one of the most spiritually strengthening experiences of my mission. She's done philosophy, college, and has been taught a lot about religion. She's awesome, haha, and super smart! But not smarter than two boys called of God! Haha…. It's funny she goes on these little tantrums of doctrine or principles and says that she doesn't agree and so on and so forth and we just smile at her and start teaching by the spirit and at the end of the lesson she is either in tears or with a smile on her face. And it's not me or my companion, it's really the spirit. Because when we plan to teach her something and lay out a plan the lesson never goes according to plan, but the spirit always touches her, without fail. Today we talked about the fact that our loving Heavenly father has a body of flesh and bones which is something that her past did NOT teach, but taught that he is spirit because of one verse in the Bible. She was fixed on her train of thought and her own knowledge for almost the whole lesson until, at one moment the spirit touched her and she began to understand the magnitude and beauty of everything we were teaching her. The spirit is So real and really does testify of Christ and his eternal plan! I love this, I know this!
   Thanks you all for all of your love and support! Until next week!

Elder Ralph


21 April 2014 -- New Companion

Hello Family!
   Well as you all know my little boy was transferred and I stayed in the area and my new companion is..... Elder Lira!
   Elder Lira is a Brazilian, turned 19 this past week and has about 4 months on the mission. Newbie still haha. I'm his third American companion, haha, poor kid. He's really good I like him. He works hard and knows how to teach. He teaches really clearly and directly to people, he's very bold and doesn't have fear to say anything. When I started my mission I wasn't like that so it's good that he has already gotten over fear. The poor kid was kind of tired of his old area and has asked me to help him get his fire back, the same fire that he had at the beginning of his mission. So we're working hard trying to find those specific people that God has prepared for us to teach and baptize.
   We're working with two girls who are neighbors. One is super excited about the church, how it works, the teaching, the Book of Mormon, everything and she is kind of dragging along her friend who is trying to decide between our church and another. She says they are both the same and can't decide. It's really weird that she says that because the churches are completely different in doctrine principles, standards, everything! I think that sometimes a person looks at who is in the church or what activities a church has rather than what the church teaches and what is the organization of the church. We're still trying to help both of them.
   So this week we had interviews with the Big Boss, President Gonzaga. I don't know why but I felt a little bit more intimidated this time than others. I ended up asking him three questions that I wanted to know. Needless to say the interview which normally takes about ten minutes took around half an hour. But the answers that he gave me really helped. I actually think it was inspired because yesterday when we were talking with a group of our recent converts they asked the same question. YES! It is interesting to see how God works. He's great, haha.
   So we have had a lot of success here in Penedo these past few weeks. Now we are trying to find a new group of people to teach and share the gospel. We're trying to talk to more people and be more involved with the members so we can teach their friends and families.
   I'm so happy to be on a mission, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! Love this work :)

Stay strong!


14 April 2014 -- Semama Maravilhosa!‏

Great week for baptisms.
Well this week was a busy one. We spent the whole week strengthening our investigators that were lined up to be baptized this week and trying to organize everything with the members. But it was all worth it. 
     This week a lot of our focus was on Rosangela. She received her answer and knew that what we were teaching was true. The answer came from someone from another religion. She got on a chat site and started talking with a man who said a lot of anti-Mormon stuff to her. She thought to herself that maybe this is the answer that God sent this man to warn or show her that what we were saying was false. But she said that she knelt down and prayed and asked our Heavenly Father. She said that the only thing she could think of is that the enemy does all he can to impede us from accepting or finding the truth. She knew that God responded to her and we invited her to use her faith that she says she doesn't have, and use this answer, being baptized. And she accepted! woot, woot!! So we made a goal to help her be ready to be baptized with her kids that Saturday. Her real trial was coffee. And man does she drink coffee.
     We decided to challenge her to stop all at once, to just cut the coffee. And she agreed. The next day she had a major headache and when we passed by she said she was gunna die or we were gunna die. Hahaha, she's kind of dramatic. But she did want to go to the hospital. We asked her if she wanted to receive a blessing. And she turned all serious and accepted. The next day she said she was feeling great, that her headache went away and that she didn't even go to the hospital. She said she was going to advertise us to people that she knows that have headaches, haha. She loves to joke about things but she really believes that her headache went away because of the priesthood that we hold. Rosangela was baptized with her two kids this Saturday :) She's amazing! I love that lady!
     The baptism was really great and the spirit was so strong. Rosangela and another lady named Sara were baptized together and they became friends at first site. They sit next to each other, hug each other, and laugh together. It was really cool. When we all went to the sacrament meeting to see the confirmations, Rosangel called Sara to sit next to her during the meeting and they gave each other hugs and congratulations. I felt really good at that moment. I felt like I was doing my job. These two ladies will support each other and are friends for the rest of their lives. Ahhhh gave me butterflies.
     The only downfall this week was transfers. This whole time I figured that I would be transferred because I have been training Elder Martins, and normally the trainer leaves the area. When I was trained this happened, the first time I trained this happened. But this time... Nope. Martins was transferred and I will stay in the area for at least one more transfer, or two. HA I only have two left!!!! Hahaha, Crazy!
     This week was really good. I love being a missionary, there's nothing better :)
Thank you all for your love and support. I love you all So much! Can't wait to see you! :)



7 April 2014 -- Happy Conference!‏

Hello Family and friends that I love so much!
   I hope ya´ll had a great conference. I really enjoyed and was looking forward to it all week! Some of my favorite talks were by Elder Scott who talked a lot about loving someone enough to help them. Elder Uchtdorf on gratitude, Elder Bednar about our load, and trucks..... (honey, we need a truck) :) and Elder Cook who talked about the temples and baptisms for the dead.

   We were able to bring quite a lot of people to church to see the prophets and apostolos that spoke to us on those two days. Sara, one of our golden investigators was able to come to 3/4 of the sessions. This week she was having a lot of doubt about the restoration, why the church was restored on the other side of the world and why we need prophets today when Christ left the Holy Ghost with us to teach us and guide us. After a rather long lesson with her and her niece she asked us these questions. To her it seemed like we were telling her that she has to go through the Prophet to get to God. That only through one man we can know God. It's funny at times we think that were teaching clearly but to another person we are mixing everything up. I ended up telling her a story about how my wonderful mother felt the impression to adopt my little brother Samuel. I told her that my mother felt the impression through the Holy Ghost, that came from God and not a prophet that she needed to adopt my little brother. We told her that the Holy Ghost will guide her to make the right decisions and the prophet will teach her and help her to recognize the spirit and the blessings. It was something like that. So she came and really paid attention to the talks. One thing that hasn't settled well with her is baptisms for the dead. She had never heard of it before and it's something new and different. Elder Cook gave a wonderful talk about Elias and the turning of the hearts to the fathers.... and it was everything that I have been studying and passing to Sara. I've never studied a topic of the gospel more thoroughly! And he said everything that I have been teaching her. She liked it and understood even more about the purpose, but it still doesn't make sense to her. Especially the part when Elder Cook said that we can't obtain exaltation without our ancestors... Ahhh so much to teach and so little time. But Sara really liked the conference.
   We are working with another lady named Rosangela. She is loving everything that we are teaching to her and wants to believe it. Her doubts are about prophets, that the world is so horrible that there can't be prophets today because there isn't enough faith. Her difficulty is faith, and she said it herself. "I've seen so many things, been part of so many religions that it's hard to believe, I lost my faith". She's really a great, spunky lady, but she gets down on herself easily. She really paid attention to the talks of the prophets and she really liked it. There was one talk, I forgot who gave it but he talked about the restoration and it really helped her.
   Hey I saw Carli's Dad and Sarah in the videos after the first conference. AND my mission president was called to be a member of the 70! WoW! And we're going to have interviews with him here in a bit.... woah... interview with a member of the 70..:D
   I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the third time on my mission this week! I love that book it awesome! :)
   This coming weekend we are hoping to have a few baptisms but it will sure take a lot of work to be sure that these people are ready to be baptized, but we're super excited.
   I love being a missionary. I love helping these people! I'm so thankful for the friendships that I have made, that love and spirit that I have felt from the members here in Brazil! I love my mission!

Elder Ralph

PS. I'm teaching Elder Martins how to play the piano.
   Hey thank Brother Carter for me... he sent me a package!
       and Melissa Meracich sent me a letter :)