Monday, November 12, 2012

A Moment Of ... "Family Fame"

(Elder Fox ... many years ago.  This quote says it all.)

Dear family,

Yes.  I heard the devastating news.  I asked a young man here, that’s been keeping me updated with politics, to let me know what happens.  He sent us a message so when I woke up Wednesday morning, I saw the horrible news.  Here in Brazil, they don’t know what it’s like back home, so everyone loves him.  They are just getting lies down here.  All the media spin and not the real truth about the economy and jobs.  Everyone is so excited that he won again.  Before the election I tried not to talk politics with people.  I especially didn’t talk about it with people who aren’t members, because we’re representing the church and it’s not our job to talk politics.  The fact that Mitt Romney is a member would make it seem even worse because then they could think that the church is promoting him which they are not.  I avoided that topic as much as possible.  On occasions when someone wanted to know who I was supporting, and kept asking, I told them it was my opinion and then said “Mitt Romney“.  However, now that the damage is done, I don’t hide the fact that I’m ticked.  I’m trying to not mix politics and my mission, but it’s so hard when someone comes and says, “Isn’t it wonderful that Obama won again!”  I try not to make a face of frustration and disappointment.  Seriously though … there was 135% voter turn out?!!  What are they going to do about that?  Is there going to be some kind of investigation?  Can they count the results because of voter fraud?  There’s a new Elder that just got here and he’s from Florida.  He said, “Ya, I hope my Floridians come through and call a recount again.”  haha  Oh … side note … this Elder is from Orlando and apparently knew Mitch on his mission.

First off … starting off with transfers … we both stayed.  I was really surprised because President doesn’t want people ending their mission as a leader.  My companion is pretty close to the end.  After this transfer, he only has one more.  He has a ton of time here so I thought for sure he was going.  Personally, I was really happy when I found out he was staying.  The bad thing is it means he'll almost surely be transferred this next transfer, which is 6 days before Christmas.  That is awful for him because he'll get to a new area and not know anyone when Christmas comes around.  On the plus side, that means I’ll spend Christmas here.  The only down side for me is I’ll have another companion.

This week was another tough one.  This area is really hard because when we go out to teach the people we have appointments with … they are never home!  Really … nobody is ever home here.  I don’t understand it.  We were able to make a bit of progress with some of our investigators though.  One of them is someone we’re teaching at a member’s pizzeria.  She was the one that left her job to go to church.  We’ve been making good progress with her, but she won’t accept a baptismal date.  She believes in the truthfulness of the gospel and everything, but wouldn’t accept a date.  We taught her about the Gospel of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) and then we found out why she won’t accept a date.  She is really worried about being baptized and not being worthy.  She wants to talk to someone and more or less "confess".  She was raised as a Catholic and so she feels like she needs to “talk” to someone other than us because she’s got a good friendship with us.  We told her about the interview that you have to pass, to be able to get baptized.  We explained that after this interview the Elder will say if she’s ready or not.  She was happy to find this out.  Now she said she won’t accept a date until she is interviewed.  haha  She stresses out kind of easily and wants to make sure she is where she needs to be and that everything is ok.  I’m glad she is taking this step in her life seriously.  I can’t complain.  We are going to set up an interview.

I never mentioned in my last email about my talk that one Sunday because I forgot to mention that I didn’t speak.  When it’s “email time”, I start writing and I’m rushing … and I have a tendency to sometimes forget things.  So to fill you in on what happened, here it is.  I didn’t speak because after they gave me the assignment to speak, I found out it was the Primary Program that same Sunday.  I called up the guy that gave me the speaking assignment and he was like, “Oh, ya, that’s right“.  haha  They moved my talk to a different Sunday.  The first Sunday was the Primary Program … the next one was fast Sunday … and then came yesterday, which was when I spoke.  I was worried because of the topic, “Sustaining Missionary Work“.  I didn’t want to get up there and just start telling everyone what they need to do.  Like … “You need to talk to your friends about the church“ … “You need to give us references or else the work doesn’t progress“ … blah blah blah.  Everyone kind of assumes the Elders will speak about that, and either they don’t listen as much, or they just give us pity.  haha  So I wrote it trying not to beg for help, or giving a training season.  Hopefully it was good.  I think it went pretty well, everyone said they liked it, so I’m thinking it went alright.  While I was speaking, the Bishop’s wife was crying.  She was pretty easy to see because her family was sitting near the front.  Her tears were easily spotted.  Especially when I would relate a little story about an experience from before the mission at home with you guys.  Knowing you, Mom … I already knew why she was crying.  She has a son that’s getting close to missionary age.  After Sacrament Meeting ended, she shook my hand and congratulated me on my talk.  Joking around, she thanked me for making her cry.  Before she even said why, I said, “You were thinking about your son, when he'll be on his mission in front of everyone speaking in a Sacrament Meeting far from home … right?”  She got a big smile on her face and said, “That’s exactly what I was thinking about.  How did you know?”  I just responded, “Because I have a mom too.”

Something really neat happened on Saturday.  There was a stake activity.  All the youth in every ward put together some dances.  It wasn’t a competition.  It was just a really cool activity.  Every ward had a certain decade.  They picked out music from that decade and put together a mix of clips from the songs and danced to them.  One ward danced to “Thriller” and after that song ended, some little tiny Deacons came out in jumpsuits with squirt gums.  I was thinking, “Why are they dressed like that?”  Then the music from Ghostbusters came on.  It was way cool!  And they actually danced really good too.  I was impressed.  (Perhaps you could use this idea for an activity back home.)  It was something really simple, it had a big turnout, and was really cool.  Right before the dance, they talked about the specific decade and things that happened during that time.  They shared facts about history, inventions, and also things that happened in the church.  The activity was good for the non-members because there was a little lesson in there.  There was also a bunch of pictures put together, so as they were talking about certain things that happened, they showed pictures.  The cool part happened when they were talking about one of the decades.  It was during the time period when the church had a strong focus on missionary work and how the prophet put a focus on growth in Brazil and Africa.  On the pictures they had, they said they were photos of some of the greatest missionaries of all time that were in these two places.  All of a sudden … the next thing I knew … there up on the screen was a huge picture of Uncle Dale!  It was the same photo that Mom put on my blog.  I saw that and said really quickly, “Whoa!  Uncle Dale!!!  My companion and a member sitting next to me heard, and said, “That’s your Uncle?!  Wow!  Your family is famous!!!”  haha  It was really cool.  What a blessing I was given when I was born into such an amazing legacy.

Well … my times up.  I have to get going.  I love you guys tons!!!  I miss you all!


P.S.  - There’s a kid here that needs some kind of cream that in any Wal-Mart back home, they sell.  Here … they don’t have it.  It‘s called Aquaphor.  He really needs it for his allergies.  He suffers quite a bit.  If you guys could send some in my next package, that would be really nice.  To get it imported is really expensive!!  Thanks!

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