Monday, December 26, 2016

Week Seventy Six - Merry Christmas

This Christmas was really great. I enjoyed it a lot this year. We had two baptisms this week, Yuri and Edmilson were baptized. And sorry, I forgot to bring my camera card with me to send the pictures. I'll have to send them next week, sorry. But I enjoyed talking with my family and I didn't even get that trunky, I just kind of stayed normal afterwards.
So we passed the transfer. Me and my companion will continue here in the area, but we will both train. So I'm gonna recieve a greenie to train again. I think the mission didn't have to many options for trainors. But It will be cool. I'm actually excited to train again. It's gonna be sick. 
Have a good week!
Elder Batten


Monday, December 19, 2016

Week Seventy Five - Good Work

Hey family, hope you all had a good week and were able to live in the snow. 
On Monday this week we received two missionaries to stay with us for the week. They are going home this Tuesday and they stayed with us for a few days. It sucked because I know them both really well and seeing them going home left me a little trunky. And they had pretty much kicked the bucket because they are going home. Then on Saturday the sisters from my group went home... that equally sucked 
We had some good work this week though. This boy name Edimilson has a date marked for this Saturday. And his brother Edinilson went to church with us on Sunday. They are progressing really well. Also this man we are teaching named Alex went to church on Sunday and wants to be baptized on the 31st. So we are working heavily with him and helping him out. He is a really good investigator. He is the husband of a less active member.
Looking forward to talking to you on Sunday!
Have a good week.
Elder Batten

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week Seventy Four - Hoping Santa Will Bring Me Some Baptisms

Hey, I liked the pictures. Brazil isn't really that into Christmas. I've only seen like 2 houses with decorations in front of the house. But sometimes you will see Christmas trees in the houses of the people. But it's not too big. We don't really have decorations in our house. I put my stocking up on a nail. Hoping that Santa will bring me some baptisms. haha.
and yeah we released the animal.

I don't have to much to report this week, sorry. We had a zone meeting but we pretty much just passed on things that were given to use in the leadership counsel. We worked a lot this week finding new investigators. We had some success. I don´t know if I mentioned but a few weeks ago we visited this less active family who hadn't gone to church in years, and the woman just like started "speaking in tongues" in the middle of the lesson. Well they've been going to church and we are teaching her son in law who lives there and he isn't baptized. He is pretty cool, his name is Alex.
The family we baptized a while back has been doing really well. I'm pretty happy with Vanessa and Ana. They are progressing well. They can't seem to wrap their heads around the fact that me and my companion don't date or things like that during the mission.
Christmas is getting close. Here soon I will be talking with you through skype.
We may have a baptism this week, 
Elder Batten

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week Seventy Three - Revisiting Rio Largo

Hey how's it going. This week went pretty well. We spent a lot of time visiting members and going after references to build a new investigator pool. I've pretty much decided that I'm finished knocking doors and going after contacts and lessons. It's way more effective and less tiring working with members. We had a lot of success this past month doing that. 

I did splits with Rio Largo (my old area) this week. I went there and I was able to see Cleitony and Celia, José, and Vitor. Celia and José still haven't gotten together their papers to get married yet. But it's because the judge has been procrastinating putting everything together. But they are getting close. They were pretty happy to see me. It was really good to see them.
Antonio the guy who killed someone came to us after we explained to him that he would have to turn himself in and said it was all a lie. He said he invented the story to know if it was really the true church and to know that we don't just baptize any person that comes to church. Since then, he hasn't come again. I really am not sure what to believe but I do not trust the story that much. It's pretty sad because he is almost finished the Book of Mormon and he understands it and is able to recount the story to us. But he has let his pastor fill some garbage in his head about going and doing a religious course for free or something. So we're not sure what is going to happen with him. I think the story is true though and we will likely have to cut him here soon.

Last night we found the skunk. But It isn't really a skunk. I think skunks are different here. It's called cassaco here, but skunk in Portuguese is gambá. So I don't know what it is exactly. We heard him eating our trash last night and I went out and saw him and captured him. We threw him into our house and closed all the doors. And watched him run around in the house, climb on the table legs. He is pretty interesting. My companion gave him a bath. We will release him here soon. 

Have a good week
Elder Batten

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week Seventy Two - Sleep Deprivation and Vanessa and Pitoca get Baptized

Hey, thanks for the pictures! I liked them a lot. I actually didn't even know that it was Thanksgiving this week until like 9:30 at night when I was talking with a sister on the phone and she said Happy Thanksgiving. But yeah. 
This week was extremely tiring. We ended up stressing a lot with Davisson and returning home really late at night a few times and afterwards waking up early and having to leave to resolve or do something. On Friday we left early in the morning to do baptismal interviews and I just kind of woke up put on clothes and left without taking a shower. I forgot to put on sunscreen and it ended up being really hot that day and I burnt completely. I'm still a little red in the face. 
We had two baptisms on Saturday. Vanessa and Pitoca were baptized. It was really great. They have been participating in the ward activities. I'll include the pictures. 
This temporary church to rob peoples money was opened close to our house this weekend. They made tons of of noise and were always playing music, with some crazy women screaming things that aren't even written in the bible. I lost a few hours of sleep. The bishop here is super cool, and he also served a mission. I joke around with him a lot about the things that people always say to missionaries like "in the gospel of Thomas Jesus said" or "once the prophet Titus said to the people"... These kinds of things are pretty common. Especially "In the bible Jesus said that church signs don't save anybody." Really??... Could you show me that scripture...?? Haha it's funny but I really wanted to sleep. 
I'm really loving this area. We've been having a lot of success, and the ward has started a plan for a future division to have two wards here. 
Have a good week, love and miss you
Elder Batten

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week Seventy One - The Seventh Day Adventist

So my adaptor broke and I wasn't able to send the pictures last week but they are all included in this email. The pictures included are from a Zone Meeting, and the baptisms last week and this week.
We had a multi zone meeting on Friday, which basically was a giant chewing out from the AP's and President about "apostasy in the mission." I liked the meeting but it was a little harsh. But me and my companion are baptizing like almost every week so whatever, haha. And the zone has a possible 8 baptisms this week which would be really sick. 
We have marked this week for Vanessa and Luis to be baptized. (They are the two children of Lane and Ana) who were baptized this last week. Which should be really great.
Also we have this investigator named Davisson who has been an investigator for 9 years. He is a Seventh Day Adventist. He has almost been baptized many times but always got cold feet and backed out because he can't "prove" many doctrines of the church, which he can in the Adventists. (There is proof of everything but he just doesn't want to accept the Sabbath) And he doesn't accept "good feelings as a response from God." But we have been working with him recently. It started because he appeared out of no where at our house offering to have us for dinner at his house one day, but didn't want to talk about religion. So we annoyed him enough into talking about religion. It was funny because he one time in the car was like "I don't understand why you guys want to talk about religion so much, you do it everyday." I was like "Dude I haven't been able to kiss a girl in more than one year and 4 months. Do you think I'm going to talk about normal things." and he had a good laugh at that. But at church on Sunday he came. And during the sacrament meeting the boy who is leaving for his mission this week named Junior gave a talk during sacrament meeting. It was very clear that Davisson felt the spirit very strongly. He got up and went to the restroom, and returned a little while after. He told me that he can't understand why he feels so strongly to be a member of the church but doctrinally he feels the other way. I told him that there are answers for all of the doctrines. And I asked him if he was only feeling good things or if he was feeling the spirit. He couldn't deny it. We had him talk with the bishop afterwards, it was really great. So we've got some work to do with him this week. He is thinking about being baptized on Saturday. It really was a miracle.
But I love you all, have a good week
Elder Batten


Monday, November 14, 2016

Week Seventy - Baptisms and Such

This week went well but was a little bit stressful. We had tons of work to do and had to follow up on our investigators who were baptized this week. Also sorry, but my adaptor isn't working to send in the pictures. Edineide and Livia were baptized on Saturday. The baptism was great. There were tons of members there watching the baptism so that was really awesome to see.

Sorry I've got kind of a jumbled head because of the transfer. I can't really think straight right now because of a lot of the changes that happened in the zone/mission. We have another baptism for this week as well, a woman named Lane has a baptism marked. We have to follow up with her and teach the commandments still though. And her sister and daughter will maybe be baptized on the other Saturday 26.
We learned that Antonio had assassinated someone like 10/15 years ago so for now he will not be able to be baptized. We are going to have to resolve that.... I left that lesson wanting to sleep for like 1501522 hours. 
But I'm doing well. I'm happy and loving this area. Just a bunch of splits/baptismal interviews/change/transfer/emergency transfer and having to go to the bus station at midnight to pick up missionaries was stressful today but all is well.
Have a good week, love you
Elder Batten

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week Sixty Nine - Dreams, the Pentecostal and a Baptism

So I didn't have time to  film the video that I said I would do so I guess  I'll  just write out what I wanted to say:
So we are teaching this women named Edinade. She has two sons who were baptized a few years ago but now are less actives and don't want to return. She was invited to a ward activity by a member and we grabbed her address and started visiting her. On the first visit she told us that she had this dream/vision. Basically she dreamed/visioned that she was in the place where everything was white and she was able to see her family. (Mom, sister, brothers and others who have already passed on.) They were all dressed in white and all happy and talking. She wanted to talk with them but wasn't able. She felt as if there was a glass wall or a veil (exact words) between her and her family. She said that she wasn't able to feel the presence of her children. She wanted to go talk with her family but wasn't able to, and then it ended. We explained to her about the spirit world and about the plan of salvation. She told us that she wanted to go to the temple, and explained that her friend (sister Dorinha who is a member) had taken the names of her family and done the baptisms and endowments for them. We explained to her that her family had accepted the gospel and the only way to take down the veil/ glass wall was to be baptized. And through her example one day she would be able to bring her sons back to activity in the church. She has a date set for the 12th but we will she if she is able to stop drinking coffee before then.
We have another investigator named Antonio. He went to church the other week. He knows the Book of Mormon is true, knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet. He has been ripping through the Book of Mormon. In less than 24 hours of recieving the Book of Mormon he read 15 chapters of 1 Nephi and was able to recount everything that happend and through his own knowledge he identified the Catholic church as the prostitute of the world. That was pretty funny. He found the 1 hour film of the restoration on youtube and watched the entire film. He was able to recount that Joseph went to jail, recieved two seperate visits from angels to receive the entire priesthood, also from Moroni to receive the plates, that he built a temple and that Joseph was murdered in 1844 sealing the testimony of the Book of Mormon with his own blood. He spoke of these things so profoundly that he didn't have the appearance of an investigator. In Principles of the Gospel two weeks ago the teacher was explaining about the spirit world. A member was explaining about how salvation being a personal thing is a lie that other churches teach. Because if Salvation was personal therefore we would not need Christ as our Savior. Antonio started to talk saying that he agreed, that in his church (quadrangular which is the Pentecostal foursquare church) they teach that salvation is personal and he doesn't agree because that isn't taught in the scriptures. The only thing impeding him from being baptized still is that he is heavily involved in his church and involved in an upcoming activity there and isn't able to leave completely his obligations just yet. He is a deacon in the church there, which is basically president of the quorum. But he will be baptized.
Also Clebson was baptized on Saturday. It was great. He is the 21 year old who moved from Sao Paulo recently to come live with his dad. He told us this week he had thought a little bit about serving a mission one day. That would be so sick. I'll send the picture.
Also on Sunday we had Stake Conference. Elder Perroti of the area seventy was there. He gave a good talk.

Have a good week, love you
Elder Batten

(Same shoes from last week, back from the shoemaker!)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week Sixty Eight - Funny Experiences

This week was filled with some pretty funny experiences.
I was teaching this investigator named Jardi about the sacrament. I was reading John 6 about the bread of life, and explaining how we won't have hunger if we eat of the bread of life, which is the body of Christ. I asked him if he wanted to eat this bread. he said: "No, thanks to God I've never passed hunger in my life." I started laughing, it was pretty funny. He hadn't had a drink in 3 months and on Saturday he ended up getting super wasted and didn't go to church on Sunday. He had commited as well. It was frustrating and annoying. We may cut him off but we will see this week. 
Also we visited this guy named Pedro. He went to plug in the fan into this wild circuit that he had on the floor. It was a mess of cords and extentions. He ended up plugging in another fan to the circuit, and when the fan turned on and started blowing he goes "OXI THIS FAN IS CRAZY" it was pretty funny. The guy was a little odd but I liked the visit a lot.
We have a baptism this week. Cleberson is going to be baptized on Saturday. He is super cool. I like him a lot, and has been progressing ridiculously well. We may have some baptisms this next week as well. There is a story I want to tell you but it would take too long to type it out. I'm thinking about making a video for the next week instead of sending an email. 
Also we have a skunk living in this crack between our house and the wall.
Have a good week, love you 
Elder Batten
(Luke's shoes)


Monday, October 24, 2016

Week Sixty Seven - Lots of Work to do

Hey! I put in some pictures from my old area. There are some from a ward activity in which I ripped my shirt pocket, and from a baptism. I received them from a member today. So there you are, more pictures. 

This past week we went to Viçosa for the open house there. It was cool and went really well.  We made a lot of contacts there in front of the "chapel" Inviting people to make a quick tour. It was good. I think the church got a lot of good publicity for Sunday. On our way home that night we stopped by an investigators house and then returned home. 

On Wednesday we had changes with one of the assistants to the president. He came to our area and spent the day with us and left the next morning. 

We had Ward Conference this Sunday. The church was packed with members, and a lot of less actives. We got some references as well. So we will have a lot of work for this week. 

We are teaching this guy named Kleberson who recently returned from São Paulo and is currently living with his family again. We started teaching him and he went to church this Sunday. He has a baptismal date set for the fifth. He asks a lot of good questions during the lessons and pays good attention. Also we are teaching this man named Jardi who has a date set for the 12th. He has been progressing a lot this last week. He received an answer to his prayers and told us that he wants to follow and believes that the church is true. 
Have a good week, love you.
Elder Batten



Monday, October 17, 2016

Week Sixty Six - Voçosa

On Tuesday I had to go to Viçosa to do a baptismal interview. Viçosa is a bit of a travel so we did changes with the other companionship. We ended up getting there really late, so I had to do the interview Wednsday morning. We ended up returning late to our area, but we were able to knock out a visit with a member that night. We started teaching this guy named Edson who is family of a member. I sent some pictures from my area but also from Viçosa. Viçosa is very pretty. There are a lot of green hills and valleys there. But it's been a little difficult to work in our area with all of the divisions and interviews that we have to do.
We have been working a lot with the members to find new investigators. I'm pretty determined that we will be able to have more progressing investigators doing this. I'm tired of making contacts and working with my legs. So we are pretty dedicated to work with members right now. 
My companion saw a skunk in outside of our house between the walls and the house this week. I started to feel the reek of the skunk. But when I returned outside with him we weren't able to find the skunk. 
We are going to have a bunch of activities and work this week in preparation for ward conference this Sunday. So I'll take pictures. Also I have to return to Viçosa because they are going to be opening a "chapel". (Not really a chapel but nicer than the house they are in right now). 
Love you, have a good week.
Elder Batten


Monday, October 10, 2016

Week Sixty Five - Gurguri

I wouldn't say I was "happy" or "sad" about being transferred. I had a good time in Arapiraca. But I'm excited to be here in Gurguri right now. It is a really good ward, and the members have been helping us a ton so far. They're really receptive and willing to help. So we had a good week.
I spent Monday saying goodbye to people, and on Tuesday morning I went to the bus station and returned to Maceió. Went to my area and set up house. The area that I am at is called Benedito Bentes 2. We live on the street right next to the chapel. Put Rua das flôres Benedito Bentes 2 on google maps and you should find the church and the street we live on. The house here is nice. It is usually for 4 missionaries, but for right now there are only two. (the mission is becoming low on missionaries)
We had a lot of things to do this week with interviews, leadership training, and zone meeting. We had to do a lot of planning and traveling. But it was okay because the members helped us out quite a bit this week. We had a lot of help with finding investigators and having members go to appointments with us. I'm really liking this area. We spent a lot of time visiting the members and getting to know them. So we had a productive week. We weren't able to bring anyone to church on Sunday, but this week I'm pretty confident that we will have someone progressing.
Also one day this week my companion needed to take out money from the bank, so we had to go to the shopping center to do it. It was the first time in over a year I've entered a shopping center. It was strange, because I had forgotten that the shopping center has kind of a particular smell. 
My companion's name is Elder C.Morais. He is from São Paulo.
I'm going to send a picture from the past Monday. It's from Arapiraca.
Love you, 
Elder Batten

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week Sixty Four - Transfer Day

Hey! So this week was great. We had a baptism on Saturday. João Vitor was baptized. Also I finnished training my companion. And I am getting transfered. I'm going to return to the same Zone as Rio Largo. It's called Tabuleiro. And I'm going to be in the area Gurguri.

I will send some pictures for you in this email. Also we had a ward activity this week. It was really cool. I ripped my shirt pocket during the ward activity. I'll get some of the other pictures from a member afterwards. 
I'll send more next week.  ​
Love Elder Batten


Monday, September 26, 2016

Week Sixty Three - 21

The next transfer is this next week. My companion is doing great but he needs to talk more and interact more with people to better his language abilities. I think that I will maybe stay here with him a third transfer but I'm not too sure. I like this area for the most part. 

So I totally forgot it was my birthday this week. I don't know how but I just like spaced. I had planned a small get together with the Bishops family and their neighbors (an awesome investigator family who we are teaching). My birthday and the daughter of the family were on the same day and the Bishop on the 22nd. But I completely forgot and we had splits that day and I didn't remember about the "party" and I split off to the other area with another missionary. In the middle of the division like 4:30 or so the bishops wife called a little frustrated that I had forgotten. I apologized and remembered but it was too late. I was already in the other area. But they brought the cake home and I ate it the next day. So yeah. I'm 21. 

We had a bunch of new investigators at church on Sunday. It was good because they got to see the baptism of the other area after church. They all got excited. We've got some good things going in this area. 

We HAD a baptism on Saturday. Me and my companion cleaned and prepared the font the last time we had a baptism on the same day as the other elders. So it was their turn to prepare the baptismal font. The baptism was marked for 6 hours. I got there at 5. The font wasn't even filled. It was still emptying water from their baptism from last week that they didn't drain and when it got to the bottom it didn't empty 100%. It left like 2 inches of nasty fish smelling water that had bugs in it and we couldn't get it to drain it out to clean it.  Also literally no one came out for the baptism. So we cancelled it and put it off for next week. Yeah it was annoying. My leaders wanted me to put it off for Sunday morning because it was the last day of the month to hit our zone goal. But I still marked the baptism for next week. And it WILL happen next week without problems. 

So yeah that was our week. We've got some good families and good investigators progressing here. So yeah I'm happy.

Have a good week. 

Elder Batten

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week Sixty Two - Baptisms and Dreadlocks

Sorry I didn't take any pictures this week. I'll try better to take some this week. Also I got the package this week. I had to go to Maceió on Wednesday to get it. I had to pay for it because the mail system here is corrupt. But whatever. Some packages get taxed and you have to pay to unlock them. And if you wait too long the tax gets bigger and eventually sent back. But I loved the package. The shirt is sweet and I like the jump rope.

I got some cool letters/ pictures from 2 kids in the primary yesterday at church. They designed my hair pretty awesome in the picture. 

This week a boy named João Vitor is going to get baptized. He´s been waiting for 3 months now. Since he is younger than 15 and his parents aren´t members. He is friends of the bishops son. He goes to church with them. I´ve tried teaching his parents but they aren't really interested. They go to the church Universal. 

It's started to get hot here. Summer has officially started and it is heating up. 

We had a new investigator at church yesterday. Her name is Sandra. She is pretty cool. She´s very quiet and timid, but she talks openly with us. She feels a lot of guilt because her two sons who have 22 and 25 years are alcoholics. We found her by making a contact with her son in the street and he passed his address. His name is Rodolfo. He sells hippie bracelets in the street, has enormous dreadlocks, and plays guitar. He seems pretty cool but he is never home. The other son is always working. He works at home with his dad doing reforming to trailers.

But yeah

Have a good week.
love and miss you, Elder Batten

Monday, September 12, 2016

Week Sixty One - Zone Conference

We had a zone conference this week. But zone conference is different than zone meeting. Zone conference includes all of the zones of the state of Alagoas which is 6 zones. It was good. I got to see some of my old companions. The mission president talked a lot about teaching repentence to our investigators and the importance of that. It was good. I liked the training. We returned Tuesday night. I spent monday night there in Maceió with my old companion Elder Christensen. 
Vinicius was baptized this week, I'll put in the picture. We are making some progress in working better with the members. We're getting some references now and then. We are going to be teaching some incomplete families this week. So Hopefully we will see some more progressing members.
Also we played a joke with some of the members writing in english on the chalkboard. They tried to use google translate but it didn't work out too well. 
Have a good week, take care.
Elder Batten

Monday, September 5, 2016

Week Sixty - What Would Jesus Do?

This week was extremely frustrating I'm not going to lie. Pretty much all of our investigators that were progressing have stopped. Except one, who will be baptised on Saturday which will be cool. But a lot of annoying things left my angry and frustrated. One day we had designated a street to go and make contacts. The day had started off badly, and the first contact was with a preacher of an apostate church who wanted to argue about the doctrine of having a pre existence. Instead of arguing I ended the contact and continued. The next was a couple who heavily rejected us. When I introduced us they immediately said they were from another apostate church. (All other churches are considered apostate to me incase you were wondering). They stopped in the middle of the road and told us to go our way and they would go for theirs. Unluckily for them we were going in the same direction. So they stopped and waited and we continued. But we stopped again to make another contact. Then the couple came up in the middle of the contact, interrupted and started asking what we were trying to do to them. They accused us of trying to decieve them. The word decieve in Portuguese is a little stronger though. And I instantly filled with anger and lost control completely.
What would Jesus Do? well.... Mathew 21:12
No I'm just kidding, I really shouldn't have done that but I kind of lost it that day. Right after that we went to Luzinete to find her living once again with the guy who was beating her 2 months ago... they´re not married. So that was just swell. 
But some references opened up this week with a lot of potential. Just that they didn't go to church yesterday. 
Francielle has been rethinking being baptised because she has problems with the law of chastity. I left Alma 34 with her to read. Lets just say she has been re thinking things after reading. 
We are in Maceió right now. We have a zone conference tomorrow. This week will be better.
Take Care,
Elder Batten

Monday, August 29, 2016

Week Fifty Nine - New Investigators and Lost Keys

We worked hard this week. We taught a lot and were able to start teaching some member references. We weren't able to get anyone new to church on Sunday which was frustrating. We went to bring Luzinete to church on Sunday morning but she had left early to go resolve something. That was frustrating. We are teaching this boy Vinicius and his family. He was going to church in Aracaju for a few months with his cousin for school break. And a few weeks ago he showed up here at church. He has a baptism marked for this week but we need to cover the commandments first. I think everything will go okay. 
My companion lost our house keys this week. After our appointment at 9 hours of the night. We were walking home and he just kind of stopped and panicked and said that he didn't have the keys. I was a little annoyed but I kept calm. We went and slept at the house of the elders in another area. The next day I had to ask the house donor for a spare key to get in. Later during the day our mission president called saying that we had left our keys in his car. Soo that was a relief. But It all worked itself out. 
I'll try and take more pictures this week. But yeah. Have a good week!

Elder Batten

Monday, August 22, 2016

Week Fifty Eight - Small Things

That's crazy that Cole went to school this week. Time is passing by very quickly. 
This week had a rough start. We had a baptismal interview, which will have to be interviewed again by our Mission President. So that will happen this week. But I think that everything will go right. And we will have a baptism on Saturday. 
Yesterday after church we were walking in the street. We turned the corner and I saw a woman seated on the sidewalk a little ways from us. As we got closer to the side walk I started to talk to her. I kind of just started normal conversation, and discovered that her name was Luzinete. I made a joke which I don't even remember what it was, she laughed and then I started talking about how we are missionaries, this and that. She told us that she was pretty sad, and has been passing through difficulties recently. I told her that the gospel helps us to overcome the difficulties in life and that we would like to help her because the message of the gospel would bless her life. We went inside with her and I introduced the lesson and we started with a prayer. I said the prayer. When I finished the prayer and looked up there were tears streaming down her face. She told us that when we turned the corner she felt something. That we would come and talk to her and that she would feel better. That she would laugh a little and we would help her in her life. We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and invited her to be baptized on the 10th of September. She accepted the date. It was one of the more spiritual experiences I've had on my mission. The contact was very easy. I just talked normally, said something funny and she accepted us. 
It makes me remember a scripture in the Book of Mormon,
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small things the Lord can bring about great things.
Also I've been practicing magic with cards. I don't know why I have gained this addiction but I've been showing everyone recently magic with cards. Members, investigators,,, everyone. 
Have a good week, miss you
Elder Batten

Monday, August 15, 2016

Week Fifty Seven - Time Flies

This week passed by very quickly. We had a productive week. We didn't see much progress on Sunday but we made a decent amount of new investigators. We found this family, they were actually a reference from a member in Maceió who was here last week. But they are super cool. But extremely Catholic. So we are working with them. They are very receptive though, except for one of the daughters who said she wouldn't pray about the Book of Mormon but that's okay. We'll get to her soon enough. She actually was invited to go to the Catholic Church on Wednesday and when we didn't go she mentioned it afterwards.
I think it was this week... I don't remember. Maybe it happened last week. But we were in the bus returning from lunch at a members house. And my companion started to feel sick. And the bus was pretty empty so he was on the opposite side of the aisle from me. And he just opens up his bag and threw up inside of it. I was laughing so much. I asked him afterwards why he didn't use the window and he said it was too far. I laughed even more. So we went home and he cleaned up and left when he was feeling better. But the bag stayed to dry up since he washed it. When we got to our appointments I told everyone to ask Elder Baires where his bag was. I gave him a lot of crap for it. 
Francielle will have to continue waiting one or two more weeks until she can enter the water because of the birth of her baby. So we will continue waiting.
Have a good week

Elder Batten

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Week Fifty Six - One Year and One Month

Waddup. So the weeks are starting to pass by faster right now. I hit 1 year and 1 month today.  I didn't even realize it until I looked at the date on my watch this morning. The time is passing quickly. This week we had to travel to Maceió for Baires visa. He hadn´t finished it yet and we had to go there for a day. It was nice but it was also a decent amount of time lost from the week. On the bus ride there some guys started talking to my companion on the bus. He sat in the back middle seat to have space for his legs. I was one row in front next to the window. When they discovered that he wasn't Brazilian they started to ask him a million questions. This one guy asked some pretty nasty things, but Baires didn't understand because they were using some pretty heavy curse words. I was in front laughing and I said he's not understanding anything. They asked me to translate and I said I wouldn't. Also we had a good integration this week but we weren´t able to bring any investigators because we got there directly from Maceió on Wednesday.
Francielle had her baby this week. Lohaune is the name of the baby. She was born pretty big. 4 kilos. So her baptism will maybe take a few weeks to happen. I'm pretty confident she will get there, but maybe it will take some time. Maybe this week, but I'm not too sure. Francisco is still smoking, but because the baby was born he has reduced quite a bit. He and his house both smell a lot better. But he still has some problems. We had a pretty intense lesson yesterday. He didn't understand why during the testimony meeting everyone said "the church is true." We are taught the Restoration and I tried to explain about authority and about the apostasy but for him, he only needs to have faith in Jesus. But it was good because even Francielle started to talk during the lesson explaining things. Also Francielle´s mom was there who doesn't live with them. She listened to the lesson and she understood and tried to talk but he wouldn't accept. I think I invited him to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is really true like 25 times. We´ll work through it.
Have a great week,
Elder Batten

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week Fifty Five - Happy

Hey, this week went pretty great. We had some good progress with our investigators. 
Fancielle and Francisco are progressing really well. We were able to get Francisco to church this week. Which was some pretty great progress. We are working with Francisco to get him to stop smoking so that he can get baptized on the 13th. He smokes a lot, but I think he will be able to stop. We are visiting them almost every day. Also we are working with a reference of a member who went to church this Sunday. It is a family which we haven't gotten around to teach too much. He is kind of busy with work and things like that so it's a little difficult to make an appointment with him. But I've been patient. They are pretty well integrated with the members here already. 
Elder Baires is still getting accustomed to the language and understanding the people. I'm doing most of the talking but I will throw the lesson to him a lot to help him get accustomed. Sometimes he sits there and looks at me blankly without anything to say so he bears his testimony and I continue afterwards. It will help him get accustomed. But my accent is getting better everyday. I'm speaking pretty well right now. I'm hoping that here in 5 or 6 months I will be able to talk without anyone noticing I'm from another country.
But yeah the work is going well, the members are pretty great. I'm pretty happy right now.
Elder Batten


Monday, July 25, 2016

Week Fifty Four - Opening a New Area

(I asked Luke if they were excited about the Olympics there..)

There is not really much to talk here about the Olympics. The northeast of Brazil is kind of away from things from the rest of the world, like I've previously said. No one here really cares about the Olympics, haha. But Everything is going well. The work has been picking up more and more everyday. Also the members are helping a lot. They are giving us a decent amount of references and we are having some progress. I'm not going to lie though opening an area and training at the same time is really difficult. It was kind of frustrating at first because I didn't know where anything was and my companion doesn't speak the language. But I learned the area really quickly. I know that God helped me with that though. My companion is starting to speak better and better everyday. I've been helping him out and giving him advice. Also this area is huge. To walk to the meals with members everyday is a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour or more. So we have to plan well our days.

We are teaching this man Francisco and his daughter Fancielle. We found them in the street. She was in the doorway of her house and I said "boa tarde." She laughed and tried to hide herself in her home. So I went up to the door and started talking to them and we taught them and brought Fancielle to church on Sunday. Francisco wasn't able to come but we will get him to church this next Sunday.

During lunch yesterday in the house of a member we were finished and almost leaving. The family has a teenage daughter and a young boy. The daughter's boyfriend was there to eat as well. At the end the daughter asked her little brother to go watch a movie with her and her boyfriend in the living room. I almost died when he responded. He goes, "Why would I want to sit there watching you two make out the entire time?" I was laughing for like a solid 2 minutes but my companion didn't understand. But I explained afterwards.

But everything is all good. I'm liking this area.

Have a good week, miss you.

Elder Batten

Monday, July 18, 2016

Week Fifty Three - In Arapiraca

So I got to Arapiraca on Wednsday at like 11pm at night. My companion needed to do some things for his visa in Maceió so we needed to stay there for a day and a half. My companion is Elder Baires. He is from Farmington Utah. It's been going well so far. He´s been ajusting fine- except for the heat. So the training has been going well so far.
So this new area is huuuugge. Like so big. It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours to get to the members houses. So that is the only downside. But there are a lot of members here. It's a pretty strong ward and that is great. The bishop is new/ a little crazy but he is really animated and ready to work. Also our ward mission leader is really good and willing to help. 
Also there was a baptism on Saturday. That was cool. Don't have too much to say this week.. sorry
Have a good week! take care
Elder Batten

Monday, July 11, 2016

Week Fifty Two - Transfer

So I'm getting transfered to Arapiraca Ward 2. It's back in Alagoas, in a city about 2 hours from Maceió. I will be opening the area and training. So that will be difficult. I don't really want to train very much but it should be a good experience. I've heard that the area is one of the biggest areas in the entire mission so I may be doing a lot of walking. We will have to wait and see. Christensen got transferred as well. He will go back to Maceió. Tobias wasn't shut though. There will be two new missionaries this week.
Tiago has been doing well. He had a baptismal date for this week, but he hasn't quite stopped smoking and drinking coffee yet, so he will probably be baptized here in a week or two. He's doing really well. He has a good understanding already of the scriptures, and although he has doubts sometimes, it is easy to explain to him because he is very receptive. We left his information for the next missionaries along with a bunch of info about the area.

We had a home evening last night at a members house. A lot of the youth were there (basically the members since the entire branch is youth). But we were asked to share the message. My companion recently recieved a package in the mail with a bunch of candy. He begged me to do the thing where you do push ups for every person recieving a piece of candy. To represent Jesus Christ and the atonement. It was kind of embarrassing but finally I gave in and did it. I only did a hundred and something pushups, but it was kind of difficult for me since I'm big and fat now.... But it was cool. At the end we were playing a game with cards and we received the transfer call. We attended the call and told everyone we were being transfered. Then 2 girls of the branch just started crying. I don't really know why though. I was kind of surprised. They wouldn't take a picture with us at the end because they were bawling so much. Then Henrique asked me if I have ever made a woman cry before. I laughed and said of course. But I was only joking. I really....haven't... But I think he knew I was joking.

Also this week we were teaching some Seventh Day Adventists. After we had finished teaching the restoration they asked us if we keep the ten commandments. We said yes, and of course since Seventh Day Adventists are annoying they asked us if we keep the Saturday. We said no, we keep the Day of the Savior which is Sunday. She told us that we only keep 9 commandments. So I explained the resurrection and how the Apostles kept the First day of the week after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then one of them told me that that was wrong and I needed to read the Old Testament and New Testament again and to read Isaiah 58 and Hebrews 4. Then I just lost my patience and almost started Bible Bashing her. I especially got upset because Isaiah is obvious because it's in the Old Testament. But Hebrews 4 has nothing to do with keeping the day of the Lord. It only has a reference to the creation of the world. And because she told me to re-read the scriptures. But my companion cut me off because he was dying to leave that house. He nicely said that we can disagree and believe different things, afterwards ended the lesson. Never will I have returned there.
But yeah that was the week, until the next time when I'm in Arapiraca,
Elder Batten

Monday, July 4, 2016

Week Fifty One - Happy 4th of July!

Happy Fourth of July! It's so wild. I remember last year on the Fourth of July so clearly. I remember sitting and watching the fireworks thinking "here in four days I will be in Brazil serving a mission." I thought 2 years would be an eternity (Sometimes I still do). But now I'm sitting here thinking what happened to this past year? In the mission time is super wierd. It's like a day is a year, a year is a month, and a month is a week and a week is a day. Super wierd. But it's basically like that. I'll hit one year this week which is crazy. 
This week actually went pretty well. We had the ward activity for São João/ São Pedro this week which actually went really well. There were a lot of members, less actives, and a few non members there. So we got a few references. That was super nice. I took pictures which I forgot to send but I will next week. 
We´ve been working with Milena and Amanda a lot. We bring the youth with us for lessons to make friendships. We´re going to be working with them now to stop drinking coffee. I'm going to bring them cevada (I don't know what cevada is in Ingles, but I think it's barley). So that is going to be the focus with them right now. Maybe they will be able to stop fast, maybe not. In Rio Largo it took 3 weeks for an investigator stop drinking coffee. So we will see. They said they liked the Youth part at church last Sunday. There were a lot of youth there which was great for them to have more desire to come to church. The youth here are pretty great.
We had interviews with the president this week, it went pretty well. I was pretty sincere with him in how things are going here and that it has been tense recently. But this week got better so I´m not as worried anymore. But it looks like I may be leaving this next transfer. The transfer is next week so the next email I will let you know. I'm not thinking about that too much. I just want to work and leave the area better than when I found it. Every area that I've ever come to never had anyone progressing and it's so frustrating. So I don't want to leave that for the next missionaries. 
During sacrament meeting I was up on the podium because usually I have to bless, so I usually stay seated up by the sacrament table. But while this young girl was giving testimony yesterday these two 10 year old boys in the back just started wailing on each other. I mean like throwing punches and fighting. And she just stopped gapped mouth and everyone heard the noise and turned around. Then someone grabbed them and separated them. I watched the entire thing happen. I was so angry at the moment but then I just started laughing and couldn't stop. 
Have a good week, 
Elder Batten

Monday, June 27, 2016

Week Fifty - Some Challenges

São João was this week. Its a big holiday here in the North East. Bigger than Carnaval. On Thursday the road was filled with fires, and children lighting off bombs and fireworks. There are these little bomb fire works that the kids use here. Its a little roll that you light and throw and it just explodes and makes a huge noise. Pretty entertaining. I saw 2 kids throwing them at each other in a park, and for a while too. It was crazy. They were having a bomb fight. You could easily lose a hand with one of those things. It was pretty sick though. But Thursday was basically impossible to work after like 4/5 hours so we went to a members house and visited a recent convert. But São João was pretty cool. I probably will only see it once because of the timing I came on the mission.
Other than that this week was pretty rough. Our two investigators that were making the most progress and had a baptismal date for this week fell through Saturday night. They weren't able to go to church because of a family event. So that was hard. And no one really progressed this week and it looks like we are going to have to cut Maria and Edson. It's getting hard to continue working here. Without help from the members it's entirely coming from our own effort. And this week there were only 26 people at church including us and someone from the district. It's getting pretty tense I'm not going to lie. I'm feeling pretty lost honestly right now. I don't know what else to do anymore here. I have been turning to Preach my Gospel for a lot of help but it's difficult to apply the principles perfectly in the area. 
We got expelled from a house in the middle of a lesson by a JW this week. We were in the garage talking with the mom and daughter, when from nowhere the oldest son came out from the house and just started to say a mountain of hipocritical things. He accused us of trying to convert his family (partially true), but also that he hates missionary work and thinks it's wrong (Jehovas Witness does the same thing we do...) but yeah I wanted to call him out but I let it go.
Also after I said the opening prayer of the lesson, The mom told me the prayer was good, but I erred on one thing... She asked me what is the true name of God. I said Elohim. She said no, Jehova. She said I was supposed to pray to Jehova in the name of Jesus Christ. I just thought to myself... let it go... just let it go. And I was just like yeah cool.... this lesson will be rough.. then we were expelled 5 minutes after. 
Also we are going to be changing our house here soon. The secretary was able to fix the contract,
So yeah that was this week...
Elder Batten

(The moto taxi was an emergency, we missed the bus and had to get back to the station quickly to return to the area. haha.)


Monday, June 20, 2016

Week Forty Nine - Tender Mercies

In answer to some questions we asked this week:
We are supposed to do 4 hours of service every week. It 's been a while since I really did a service project though. It can be hard sometimes to find service to do here. The weather is a little better now since it's winter here. It's not as hot, and it rains a few times a week. This week had a significant amount of rain which is nice sometimes, except when commitments fall through and you're out walking in the street ha ha. Right now I like Portuguese better than English, but that's just because I've gotten accustomed. Oh, also I forgot to mention, the blog you have been doing has been getting famous. Not really, but a decent amount of missionaries who are coming into the field have already seen and read it. The sisters in my district were asking about it. They said they're going to look at it on P day. I jokingly said good luck reading English but google translates. haha

It's been pretty difficult recently here not going to lie. The attendance in the ward is really low right now. I think that last Sunday it was under 30 but I didn't want to count. We've been cutting off a lot of investigators and moving on - like always, but this week was pretty low in respect to teaching. It's been hard I won't lie and it is disheartening when the last time you got a reference from a member was months and months ago, but I'm trying not to get down on it. I believe that the Lord will bless this area if we put in the effort. This week was going pretty poorly until Sunday. We had committed a family to come to church with us on Saturday night. When we got there Sunday morning, the two daughters of the family left with us to walk to church. They live just around the corner so it wasn't too long of a walk. We weren't really expecting that the parents would go. They don't really show much interest anyway so it was to be expected. It went really well. They made some friendships I think with the other young women in the branch. There are only like 2 or 3 but if they get baptized it would be a decent improvement for the branch. So I'm pretty happy about that. It really was a tender mercy from the Lord. They have a date set for July 2nd and we will be returning there this week with some of the members and young women from the ward to help them progress.

Also I've received kind of a revelation in respect to my teaching habits this week. I realized that I've been teaching lessons,  not people for a while now. It was vey easy for me to memorize the lessons and get down scriptures that I like to use in my teaching when I got to the field. But I have been more lecturing the investigators instead of really teaching and having an involved lesson with the investigators. I've been studying a bunch and reading Preach My Gospel chapters 4, 10 and 11. It's been helping a lot.

With what I learned we decided to return to some investigators that haven't been to church in a while and aren't really progressing right now. So we returned to visit  Maria and Edson on Sunday with the branch president and his wife. We had a really good lesson with them. The spirit was strong and we recommitted them to read the Book of Mormon for 10 minutes every night and pray about it. So we are going to see how that goes. I hope that we see some progress with them. It would be nice. I was kind of concerned that they really only like our visits because they like us. They like to converse and talk about things with us so I thought that they were only continuing because of friendship, but I have hope that this week will be different.

This week will be São João on the 24th. So there will be a lot of parties and corn.

Have a good week.
Elder Batten

(pictures from zone conference last week)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Week Forty Eight - Traveling

I thought I already said, but we got our energy back a while ago. The contract for the new house didn't go right. The owner of the house doesn't sign because of his vision. He only does thumbprints. (He actually wanted us to just move in and pay him cash every month and we had to convince him to do a contract). So the secretaries talked with the church lawyer and said that his daughter could sign for him. But when the contract got to Salt Lake it was rejected. So we won't be changing houses. And since we got all the bills right and have energy and water I'm not planning on going out again and wasting time looking for another house. So the mission president will have to wait out on that one.

The travel this week was tiring. It was like 8 hours to Maceió. We left at 3 and got there after 11 to the secretaries house. Then I renewed my visa and returned at like 6 the next day for Sergipe. We got to Sergipe at like midnight. And since the conference was there in Aracaju close by we stayed there until the morning and walked to the Conference which was close by. We had leadership meeting in the morning which was good. Then some training for the AP's which I liked and afterwards Sister Gomes and Pres Gomes talked about some things. I liked it a lot. They talked a lot about baptism, and about the goal for June which is 120 baptisms. In May the mission baptized 114. Things are a lot better now in the mission. My district had 10, which was the second best in the mission but it was because Sister Monteiro had 7 baptisms in one month.

We had very little time to work last week which was hard. Basically only Tuesday and Saturday and on Tuesday we had to leave to do a baptismal interview. But we made some really good investigators and marked to leave with them in the morning to go to church. When we got there, they had left for Rossa. Afterwards we passed by Maria and Edson who also weren't able to come. So we sat knocking on the doors of investigators and ex investigators to invite them to come to church until 9:40. No one went with us. So we didn't even attend Elders quorum really, and then went and taught Gospel Principles afterwards. It was really frustrating. But that's okay, this week will be better and we have more time to work.

Miss and love you,
Elder Batten

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week Forty Seven - Baptism Pictures

So we had some baptisms this week which was cool. Mirna and Cida were baptized. I sent pictures but I don't have a picture of Cida which I will explain right now. Mirna's baptism was supposed to be on Saturday 3:00pm, and Cida was for 8:00am before church on Sunday because she works on Saturday. On Friday there wasn't any water at the church so we left the water on and open. When we arrived Saturday morning there still wasn't any water so we started filling the pia with buckets from the faucet in the church. After about 2 hours the water failed completely. The pia was only filled about to your knees so we had to cancel the baptism and put if off for Sunday morning together with Cida. The water came at like 4:00pm and the pia filled but on Sunday morning we got there early to get ready the baptismal clothing and make sure everything was okay. At about 8:00am Cida was there and Mirna wasn't. She had passed by the church earlier and told the president she would pass by her home and take a shower. So we sat waiting. She didn't come. At 8:30 we had to start the baptism so my companion left with a member to find Mirna and I did the baptism alone (with the members) and when I was baptizing Cida my companion showed up with Mirna and her mother (another investigator). I was so worried that she wouldn't come that I forgot to take a picture. Turns out Mirna thought we said that we would pass by her house before church and walk there with her. So she was ready at 7:30 at home waiting for us the entire time. She was baptized after church and I took a pic with Mirna, Cida and my comp but Cida is not wearing the baptismal clothing. I'm sad I don't have a picture of the baptism of Cida though. I was pretty irritated.

We are also still working with Maria and Edson. They didn't go to church this last Sunday which was sad but we are going firm with them still. We may have to cut them off though because they aren't progressing very much.

This week I have to do a baptismal interview on Tuesday, Wednesday I have to go to Maceio and Thursday I have to renew my visa, then Friday we have zone conference. It's going to be a busy week.

Love and miss you
Elder Batten

Monday, May 30, 2016

Week Forty Six - Progress and the Corner Cowboy

This week was awesome. We made some amazing progress and I'm really excited for this next week. We finally were able to get in contact with Mirna and finish teaching her. She is going to be baptized this week. It is going to be great. Also we have some possible baptisms marked for the week afterwards so I'm pretty excited for that.

This week rained every single day. It was kind of nice actually. It was pretty cool weather because of the rain so I didn't stay sweating the entire day. That was nice. And the rain was kind of calming during the night. So that was nice too.

We have been trying to visit all of the members of the branch more. The frequency of the branch has been pretty low recently so we are trying to animate them and help them. This Sunday we only had 30 people which is pretty low. So that has been nice to get to know the members a little more.

The transfer passed yesterday. I will stay here with the same companion. Happy about that. But I'm going to be district leader of 8 sisters ... I'm already pulling my hair out with 4. I can't even imagine 8. Nothing against sisters. But it's going to be rough.

The pictures I sent are of the area and a praça. I don't remember the word in English. (according to google translate it means plaza or square.)  Also a picture of the corner cowboy. That dude is legit.

Love and miss you
Elder Batten