Monday, January 9, 2012

You Can't Live With "Elephants" In Your House

"Where Is The Elephant?"
Dear family!

No … I still haven’t gotten the Christmas package. I should be getting it this week. I will either get it tomorrow or on Friday.  And Belle … yes … I did get PJ’s from Santa. Elder Costa did too.

People keep updating me here, about the presidential campaign going on back home. They say that Mitt Romney is looking good for the election, and that has to mean something, since the only news they get here on TV is liberal garbage on how great a President Obama is.  I really hope Romney wins.  Do you know if the church sends oversea ballots to the missionaries?  I’d really like to be able to vote, but I don’t know if we can or not.

This last Saturday’s baptism was good. A little frustrating … but good.  Let me explain.  There was this family that we started visiting and they realized what was missing in their lives and got reactivated.  It was an awesome experience!  One of the daughters is 10.  She wasn’t baptized yet and she told us that she wanted to be.  We started teaching her.  She was amazing.  Right before the baptism, we asked her who she wants to baptize her.  She said to ask her mom so we did, and her mom picked this guy from the ward that is really an awesome guy.  I really like him.  I lent him my white pants and tie, and the day before the baptism we stopped by their house to remind them to get there early to take pictures.  They said they would.  Saturday arrived and me and Elder Costa head down to the chapel to fill the font, heat up the water, and set up the room for the baptismal service.  We arranged for Luana to come early to try out the clothes to see which one fit her best.  Everything was ready.  We had the speakers lined up and a musical number.  The whole baptismal program was set up.  Well … Elder Costa and I get there early and have a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader.  Right before the baptism is scheduled to start, people start showing up.  There are lots of people … everyone except the guy who is going to baptize her!  We tried calling him but he never answered.  Finally 5 minutes after the baptism was supposed to start, he answers his cell phone.  When we ask him if he’s on his way he informs us that he’s out of town.  I’m totally caught by surprise.  So now what?

We go and tell Luana and her mom that he is held up and won’t be able to make it and asked who they want to do the baptism.  They decided on the Bishop, who had just arrived back in town and heard of the baptism and headed down to the church.  He, being the champ he is, agrees to do it even though he doesn’t have a towel or extra underclothing.  haha  So … in the end it was good.  The service was great and the Bishop got his suit soaking wet but only smiled and laughed about it after it was all done.  haha  She was confirmed the next day and everything was awesome!

The couple we’re teaching, are getting married on Wednesday.  Well … married legally on paper.  The marriage ceremony will be on the 21st.  This week, they’ll be married and they’ll get baptized this Saturday.  They’re such great investigators.  Jessica was telling us that her mom is going to move down here and she wants us to teach her.  She said that she wants her mom to join our church because it’s the true church.  That made me so happy when she said that for two reasons.  One … stating that she knows the church is true … and two … calling it “our” church, even though she isn’t baptized yet.  I’m really excited for them!  They’re such great people and they’re making the best choices for their lives … to get married … baptized … and they always talk about entering the temple in a year to be sealed as an eternal family.

This week, Elder Costa and I started a new little program / tradition in our ward.  Two Sundays ago, on the 1st day of the new year, a member gave a talk.  He is an amazing speaker and his talk was so good.  He talked about the new year and how everyone will have trials.  He compared the trials to an elephant.  He asked us to imagine one day waking up, going outside, and finding that someone left an elephant in your house.  You can’t just leave it there because someone could get hurt.  They also eat a lot, make messes, and take up a lot of space.  Getting rid of an elephant isn’t an easy thing to do and it takes work.  However, you can’t just live with an elephant.  Same thing is true about a problem.  It’s hard and takes hard work to “get rid of”.  However, just like an elephant, you can’t live with these big problems in your lives.  Everyone was talking about his talk long after it was given, and saying how they have an "elephant" in their life.  So, Elder Costa and I came up with a plan.  We went out a bought a stuffed elephant.  (It is really a mammoth.  We couldn’t find an elephant.)  Our little “elephant” was pretty funny looking and had these crazy eyes.  Anyways, after the plan was made … it was time for action.  We went over to the member’s house who gave the talk and gave a little message about the talk he gave and missionary work.  Then we said, “Well … you have another elephant entering into your life right now.”  We pulled out the elephant and gave it to him with a church DVD that we give out to people we meet.  We told him that to get rid of the elephant … because no one can live with an elephant … he has to give the DVD to a friend / family, and invite him / them over for a Family Home Evening.  Once he’s done the work, he can get rid of the elephant by giving it to someone else in the ward … passing along the same challenge to them.  This way, even once we’re gone, this elephant will keep going around the ward and can hopefully bring future help to other missionaries here.  They loved the elephant and the idea.  I hope it works out good.  I’ll try and send you guys a picture of us and the family with the elephant.  Who knows … maybe it could work in your ward.  Just make up some kind of story about an elephant in the house, buy an elephant, and start that circulating.  We’re going to print off the picture we took and put it on the ward bulletin board with the title “Onde Está o Elefante?  (Where is the Elephant?) 

Did you guys ever find out if Craig and Dalyn got their mission calls?  Are they gone yet?  If they are … where did they get called to serve?  I’d like to know.  Thanks!!

Well … gotta get running now.  Love you guys!!  Hope you’re all doing great!!  Tell Alex I said “Congrats” and he better write me telling me about the engagement and stuff.  Of all my friends and people I know who have gotten engaged since I left, not one of them have told me about it.  I’ve heard from Mom or through a friend, but never the person.  So he better write me.  Love you all!

Love,
Tavin

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