Monday, February 18, 2013

Beating The Heat!

(Elder Fox and Elder Riggins.  They both knew each other in High School and now they're in Brazil together.)

Dear Family,

So why didn’t you guys tell me what Kassie’s having?  Everyone in the whole world is allowed to know except me??  haha  The package still hasn’t come yet.  The next opportunity that I’ll have to receive a package will be next week on Friday, if it comes before then.  That’s the next time someone is coming from Sao Paulo out here.  I’m still waiting for the shirt telling me I’ll be an Uncle.  So who knows when the package will arrive.  I hope it comes soon.



Happy late birthday Peter!!!!!

As far as Valentine’s Day goes … I didn’t even remember it was Valentine’s Day.  Here in Brasil it’s in June ... I think.  Or maybe July … but I think June.  I had totally forgotten and on Friday, when I did a division with an Elder from Orlando, he reminded me.  He only remembered because a member had reminded him.

I’m doing good.  I’m just dying from the heat.  Man!  It’s hit hard recently!!!  It’s pretty rough for me right now because it’s also really humid.  It’s gotten a bit better and wasn’t so hot, but these last couple of days have been brutal!  Monday and Tuesday were the end of Carnival so those days weren’t so great for missionary work.  Thankfully in our area, there wasn’t really anything bad.  No huge parties or celebrations.  The youth from here went to EFY during Carnival.  They always have their summer camps during Carnival.  (Basically to take all of the youth out of the cities with all the parties and take them out to the middle of no where where it’s just them.)  Normally their summer camps are just a vacation.  They’ll rent out a property that has a bunch of houses to stay at, a big pool, a little soccer field, and stuff like that.  They just have fun.  Personally, I like our summer camps more because we go up into the mountains and actually go camping.  Anyway, this year the church leaders decided to do EFY.  They don’t have EFY in Brazil, but recently they’ve been choosing some stakes from different parts of the country and do an EFY with them.  This year, the stakes here were chosen and they went with some stakes from some other cities too.  I remember all the youth were complaining before saying, “There won’t even be a pool!” or “It’s just spiritual stuff all day every day.  It’ll be lame.”  I tried to tell them that I went a bunch and it’s way better than having a pool but they didn’t really believe me.  Some took my word for it but others just said, “I don’t know.”  Well, now all of the youth are talking about how awesome it was and how it was the best summer camp they’ve ever gone to.  Best of all they said it was the most spiritual and fun experience they’ve ever had!  There was even a young man, a recent convert, who has been missing church every now and then and wasn’t too decided on serving a mission.  After EFY I asked if he was still thinking about serving a mission and he said, “No.  I’m not thinking about it anymore.  I’ve decided I’m going to serve!”  He’s going to start coming out teaching with us now so he can get a bit of practice in.

As for the rest of the week, it was good … but challenging.  I don’t know why, but this week we had so much trouble finding people at home.  No one was at home when we would go there.  We ended up spending lots of time walking and not doing anything … just contacts.  And these days that have been really hot … contacts are tough!  There are very few people that are out walking around.  However, we had some pretty neat experiences with our investigators, and people are progressing.

On Friday I had a really neat experience.  We did a division with some Elders in another area.  Elder Irlan took the District Leader back with him to our area to give some training to him.  I went to their area.  On the bus ride out there, I asked him about the day and he was explaining it all to me.  After lunch we would go out tracting.  Then we would go and visit some people.  After a while, I remembered an investigator that they had that I had gotten to know a while back.  His wife and son had been baptized and he hadn’t because he was drinking coffee still.  At that point he had already stopped, but still was not accepting baptism.  I asked why he wasn’t baptized yet and he told me a bunch of excuses that he had.  Elder Lowe, the Elder that was with me said, “You know what.  Let’s try and visit him after lunch.  We don’t have anything else to do other than tracting.  He’ll probably be at work but who knows.  Let's give it a try.”  So we went there and sure enough he was home!  He said that he was at work but decided to take some of his work home and do it there.  We talked for a bit and I asked him why he hadn’t been baptized.  He said a bunch of excuses and mentioned that he didn’t pass the interview.  I told him that now I’m the one that does interviews there.  I then felt like I should interview him.  I asked if I could do a baptismal interview.  He said, “Sure.”  His son and Elder Lowe went into another room.  Leaving, Elder Lowe gave me a look as to say “good luck“ and we got started on the interview.  He’s a very frank guy which I liked because he was comfortable with me so he told me lots of stuff.  I received so much help from the Lord because, while talking, I would say something and he would say, “Ya.  That’s another doubt I had.”  With the Lord’s inspiration, I took all his doubts out and he passed all the questions.  It was obvious that he was ready for baptism.  I bore my testimony to him and told him he was ready and that he needed to be baptized.  He said he knew that and I asked him when.  He said, “I don’t know …” and I said, “How about tomorrow!”  He was kind of shocked and said, “Isn’t it a little short notice.  I said, “No” because he doesn’t need to waste any more time.  He said, “Let me think about it.  Fill out the baptismal form and then I’ll respond to you.”  We called his son back in and Elder Lowe.  I filled out the baptismal form and then said, “Ok.  I’m done.  What’s your response?”  (At this point Elder Lowe didn’t know he was thinking about being baptized the next day.)  He then responded firmly, “Can we do it at 8 at night?”  I said “Yes!“ and he said, “Alright!  Tomorrow at 8!”  Elder Lowe looked at me confused and I said, “He’s going to get baptized tomorrow!”  Then the investigator said, “And you’re going to baptize me Elder Lowe.”  We left his house and the first thing he said was, “What did you do?!!  haha  I was seriously guided during that interview and had the words put into my mouth.  There’s no way I would have been able to do all that.  I could really feel like I was being used as an instrument in God's hands.

The rest of the week was normal.  On Sunday we had to give a training to all the Ward Mission Leaders in the Stake during the Stake Priesthood Training.  That was a little stressful but it turned out good.  We only had Saturday night to prepare and we found out kind of later Saturday night.  Thank goodness it turned out well and thank goodness day-light savings time ended because we got an extra hour of sleep.  We were up pretty late preparing.  Oh ya … now we’re only 5 hours apart!

Well, I have to go.  My times out.  I love you guys!

Love,
Tavin

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