Monday, December 28, 2015

Week Twenty Four - A Christmas Baptism

Yeah we definitely skyped too long, but whatever. I'm back to normal and I'm not dying of trunkyness.  And yes, they have eggs here.  Eggs are super cheap too. 40 for 10 Reais, which is like  2 1/2 dollars.  But I'm happy to hear that everyone had a great Christmas.

The baptism was great. It helped me get refocused after talking with you guys on Christmas. Everything went well.  I guess I haven't talked about Cleitony very much.  He is 15 years old and he is the son of a member in the ward. He moved here recently from São Paolo. He was living with his dad and he came here to live with his mom. When we found him in their house we started teaching him. He was really open to all of our lessons. He kept all our commitments and he received an answer to his prayers and he was baptized.

I had to re-baptize him like 4 times. He is kind of tall and the font isn't very deep. It was not even up to my waist. He wouldn't keep his feet on the ground and his feet kept coming out of the water. But eventually I got him all the way under and everything was fine. I'm going to try and send pictures after I send the email.

There is also a chance that we will have another baptism this Saturday or maybe next. Liete is an investigator that has already been to church enough times to be baptized. The problem is that the first time she went to church she hated it. None of the members spoke with her, and to make it worse when the President went up to the pulpit to talk he just spoke a lot of garbage. He started talking about the temple ordinances and temple video. It was horrible and he said a lot of other crazy stuff as well. But she was there yesterday and had a better time. Also another problem with her is that her daughter smokes crack. Liete has a lot of concern for her and it impedes her time sometimes. Her daughter is 18 and super cool but she smokes a lot of cigarettes ... and ... well... crack. We started teaching the boyfriend of her daughter also. Her boyfriend is like a really good investigator. He asks really good questions.  And we had a really good lesson with him. It will be a problem to get him to stop using drugs and to go to church, but we will see.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and will have a great New Year.

Elder Batten



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Week Twenty Three - Rio Largo

First week in Rio Largo was great. I like my new area.  It's basically one big whole in the earth, but it's all good. My companion is great, probably my favorite companion until now. But we are working hard here. Rio Largo hasn't had a baptism in 6 months. The branch here is really small, less than 30 people. And there isn't a lot of help from the members in respect to missionary work. Since our mission has lost a lot of missionaries the mission president said that if we don't have a baptism this transfer he will shut the area. But we are going to have a baptism this Saturday. And we made a goal to have 8 baptisms in this transfer. On Saturday we put two tables in front of the church building with over a hundred Liahonas and some pamphlets. We gathered Fernanda, a girl in the ward who has 18 years, and Cleber who is a recent convert and Cleber's brother who we will baptize this Saturday. We made contacts in the street by the Church building for an hour or two. We gave out all of the Liahonas and did like 127 contacts. None went to church but maybe someone will call us.

My companion is kind of an idiot though. I love him but he can be kind of stupid. He is allergic to mango. And during the week he ate part of a mango that Cleber was eating. The next day he was sick and we weren't able to leave the house because he was feeling so bad. When he called the mission doctor she asked him "Você é idiota?" Which means are you an idiot? Because she knows he is allergic to mango. She just wrecked him on the phone and I almost died of laughter. That was the first day of the mission that I've stayed in the house the entire day. It was super weird. But the rest of the week we worked hard to make up for the lost day.

I'm excited to talk with you on Christmas. I will call you 2 hours here. That should be 9 in the morning there. Be ready to receive the call. It will be through Skype, remember that.

I tried to call one day this week, I don't remember which day it was. I called the home and Dad's cell phone. Mom's didn't go through. But no one answered. We have 5 minutes that we are allowed to talk with our families on the phone but no one answered so that time is lost now.

Have a good week and Merry Christmas!
Luke

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Week Twenty Two - Transfer

So I'm getting transferred tomorrow for Rio Largo. My next companion will be Elder Ilg. I already know him and I'm pretty excited. It's gonna be awesome. Rio Largo has a lot of Grota and Ladeira which means a lot of lateral walking. But the town is small so it will be good. It's kind of sad to leave my first area but it will be good to see some change.

We had Conference of Christmas this week. It was pretty fun. The whole mission was there at the Farol. It was pretty awesome. We had a slide show of all the missionaries who sent pictures of special baptisms. A talent show which was almost entirely singing, and Christmas videos. So it was good.

I had plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas but I will pass Christmas in Rio Largo now so as of now I have no idea. But I do need Cole's skype to talk with you on Christmas. Also I received the second package that you sent with the stocking. Thanks for the package it was really nice to receive something.

Usually P Day consists of the normal wake up routine. Afterwards we clean the house and make something to eat. We go to the market, buy food and make lunch. Us 4. Oliveira cooks well and usually we eat good. Afterwards we go the the LAN house, return and sleep or do whatever we want for the rest of the day.

I see the ocean from certain places in my area now. I saw the ocean more when we were taking care of Beira Mar. The beach is only 25 or 30 minutes from  our house. When we had to go to Paripuera which is 1 hour by bus, we drove along the beach for the trip to there.

My personal study I've been reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese. I actually finished reading this week. It took about 4 months to read it cover to cover in Portuguese. It was really cool and spiritual when I finished the last chapter of Moroni. Usually I spend most of my time doing that. Sometimes I'll study the Bible in English.  It's a little harder in Portuguese to read the Bible. I've re-read almost all of the New Testament and I started re-reading part of the Old Testament recently. Pretty much I just read the scriptures. I prefer it anyways.

Have a good week. Love and miss you!
Luke

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week Twenty One - A little Honesty

Sorry if my letters are getting short. I'm gonna be really honest right now. The first few weeks of this transfer I was getting really homesick. I was thinking about home a lot and the weekends (Sunday and Monday) were getting really difficult for me. I was getting really trunky and was not enjoying anything we were doing to be honest. This week was a lot better. I've ben a lot more focused on the work, and I'm not thinking about home as much.  It's hard to explain, but for a missionary to stay thinking about home a lot is really bad. Right now I'm learning more how to be lost in the work. Probably only Dad will understand. But the emails are getting shorter because I'm more focused here. So Sorry. I will try to focus here and make this email longer.

The weather here is getting hot.  This week had a day that was 34 or 35 degrees. I don't know in Farenheight but the humidity is killer. 105 degrees in Oregon doesn't compare to 90 here. The humidity is horrid here. And everyone is saying that January and February will hit the maximum of heat that Maceio has. But this area is close to the beach so we have a lot of wind which helps kill the heat and sweat.

An interesting thing that happened this week. To be honest I don't know if this was this week or last week, but I learned that our neighbor Gleyce (who has called me pretty, beautiful, and other things...) used to be a man. He had a sex change and is now a woman. We had a lesson with her and afterwards went to talk with Evilazio who is our other neighbor (member of the church) and he started laughing and said "Elle corou seu pinto." He thought is was hilarious that we didn't know already.

Our closest investigator right now is Valdinesse. She is a reference of a less active member who is returning to the church right now. He served a mission and went less active after. He is returning right now and Valdinesse is his girlfriend. She has been going to church and wants to be baptized. They are living separate right now, and probably she will be baptized the 19th. We will have to wait and see. The problem is that her house is out of our area. And they don't plan to get married and live together. Also the ward they have been going to isn't ours Barlioche. He has work in the morning and they go to a different ward later in the day. So yeah that's a little complicated. She does plan to move here December or January so maybe she will be baptized here or maybe Jacentinho, If that actually does happen.

To be honest Brazilians here don't have many traditions, even for Christmas. Most of the people will play loud music and get drunk in the street, haha, yeah. Maybe some of the members have some but I don't know yet.

Sounds like your ward Christmas party was fun. And that's sick about cross country, and about Hannah's service project. Have fun at Santa Land.

Miss you all
Luke

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Week Twenty

Hey, hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. This week went well. We are working hard and getting new investigators everyday. We're building up about 6 or 7 new investigators every week, but that number needs to be bigger. Also we have a baptism marked for December 19th. I think it will go right, we will have to see. We've been pestering the members to pass references and we're receiving a little more right now.

I liked the photos of Cole's eagle project. Thanks for sending them. Looks like everything went well. I wish I could have been there.

We had interviews with the mission president this week. And on the 15th we're going to have Conference of Christmas. I'm pretty excited for that. Should be fun.

I don't have much to say about this week, sorry.

Also I made a Skype so that we can talk on Christmas.

Have a good week.
Elder Batten