Monday, February 29, 2016

Week Thirty Three - Progress

Here in the noredeste there are a lot of avocado and mango trees. It's pretty easy to grab some for free. Also there are a lot of Jaca, but that is a little harder to grab from a tree because the fruit is so big and high. And summer hasn't been especially hot. There has been a decent amount of rain this summer.  Everyone says that normally it is a lot warmer, but this week was an inferno. It was so dang hot. I burnt a little bit on my arms and face. I don't put sunblock on my arms because it stains the sleeves of my shirt orange. But I do put it on my face. My arms are pretty accustomed though sunburns only last like a day because my skin is used to it. I know it's bad to not put it on, but I'm not about to have orange shirts.

This week went really well. There has been a lot of progress here. We had a mountain of investigators at church yesterday. We are getting the members animated to start passing references, and the work is growing a lot. We're having a ton of progress here. We have a baptism marked for this Saturday as well. We'll have to wait and see if it will go right. Possibly we will have to put it off for the next week. But we've been working hard and are seeing the fruits of our labors right now.

Yesterday we went with Celia, Jose and Victor to eat after church. She mad a feijoada so good I almost cried. But I'm really happy to see the happiness that the gospel has brought into their lives. I really hope that I get to stay here one or two transfers more.

I'll try and send more pictures next week, sorry sometimes I run out of things to say.
Elder Batten

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week Thirty Two

This week went well. I had to go to the hospital on Tuesday. I had a wart removed. I called Sister asking what medicine I should buy like 4 weeks ago but she just made an appointment at the hospital. It was a pain and wasted an entire day but oh well. Also we had a mission tour this week on Friday. President Arnold from the 70 came and talked with us. He gave a lot of good advice and the focus was working with the members. It's something that me and Rui have been doing for a while now but it's difficult with the amount of members that are in the Branch. We are getting a few people animated to share the gospel with others. Sometimes when we ask about less actives the members will just sit and talk badly about why someone is less active. If there is one thing that I have learned here about the Church as a whole, it's that you can not in any situation talk badly about members of the church and you have to support your leaders no matter what you and other people think about them.

Also, there is a family that we and Wellington (quarter guy) were able to reactivate. This week they received callings. They actually have been going to church since the beginning of the new year and recently they asked for callings so that they can be more involved in the branch. It was really great to see. They show more attention during the classes and sacrament meeting than anyone else there.  They really are paying attention and are renewing their testimonies and being members active and involved.

This week Maria got sick with Dengue. It's kind of crazy but she should be getting better right now. So she and her family weren't at church this week. Also Celia has been working on getting married to Jose.  They are going through the papers and gathering the documents that they need which is great. sometimes me and Rui call her Celestial when we are planning in the night or preparing in the morning.

My accent is getting a lot better. I've been speaking more and more like a native every week. I'm very determined to speak really how a Brazilheiro speaks. But at the same time I've been pretty lazy for a while with studying language. I haven't been memorizing words or expanding my vocabulary. So I'm trying to be better with that.

I hope everything is going well. I love and miss you.
Elder Batten

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week Thirty One

Hey, this week was great. And yes, I'm emailing Reese right now. It's crazy how many people have been getting married in the short time that I've been on my mission. It's going to be really weird when I return and people who were single are now married and have kids. But I almost died when I heard the story about Hannah and the gasoline fight. I guess there is more to life than being really really really good looking.

Carnival ended this week. It wasn't too crazy here in Rio Largo because the town is so small. But there was a decent amount of drinking and partying in the street. This week we had a lot of progress with our investigators. I talked a little bit about Celia, Victor and Jose last week. But Celia wants to be baptized like right now haha.  But she and Jose have to get married first. They are going to start working on the process here soon. We already gave her the paper to start. On Sunday during Sacrament meeting I sat next to her. While the sacrament was being passed she prayed. Shortly after it finished she started to cry a little bit. It wasn't out of sadness or anything like that and I didn't pester her or ask why she was crying, but I knew. There is a comfort that only the gospel can bring into our lives. Anyone can be happy, but the happiness that the gospel brings is much higher. That moment I felt happier than I have ever been to see that be brought into the life of someone else.

We had some other investigators at church on Sunday as well, Maria and Eugenia. They are part of a family that we have been teaching recently. Super cool family and it's fun to teach them. Also Carlos who is a youth who called to us in the street last week. We went there and taught him and his mom, but only he agreed to go to church with us on Sunday. He is really young but pretty excited to learn and liked the meeting on Sunday. We told him that we will go to the activity on Wednesday with him.

We have also been teaching a woman named Miltiani recently. She asks more questions than any investigator I've ever taught. she presses attention on everything she reads in the Book of Mormon. She asks a lot of really good questions and said she would go to church last Sunday but she faulted out when Sunday came. We are going to return and continue helping her. I feel strongly that if she goes to church one time she will want to stay.

Have a good week. I hope all is well.
Elder Batten

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week Thirty

I guess I'll answer those questions first. The language is fine. It hasn't really been a barrier for 2 or 3 months now. But still I find words that I don't know.  But I'm practicing to lose my accent. It's getting better and better every day. That dream that you had is pretty crazy haha. Probably will be real life here in a year and a half. With 7 months in the mission I kind of just feel like I'm going to be a missionary for the rest of my life. I've passed some time and I don't know... It just feels like 2 years is the rest of my life haha.  It's hard to explain.

But this week went super well. We worked hard, tried to get the members involved and started visiting less actives. The members and less actives didn't really give anything but we are going to stick with it. Outside of that we've been teaching a family for about a week and a half now that is super elect. 2 Sundays ago they had already committed to something and couldn't go to church. But this Sunday Acelia and Victor went to church. Jose didn't go because he had to fix something that happened in the house. He is a little more timid. It went really well. I had fear that no one would be at church because of Carnival. The first meeting (Priesthood and Relief Society) had to be combined because there were not enough people. That went okay but a majority of the members stayed in the back conversing and interrupting the lesson. But afterwards principles of the gospel went really well. I gathered the people who I wanted, went upstairs and me and my companion taught the class because they don't have a teacher called. But Acelia said that she like it a lot. And Sacrament Meeting went well. We asked her to pray while the sacrament was being distributed and she said that she felt desire to be baptized. So we are going to return this week frequently to follow up and have Jose at church the next Sunday. But I'm super happy about that. They are doing super well.

Also Carnival is going right now. It's not that bad here in Rio Largo because the city is pretty small. But there is a lot of partying in the streets, people covered in paint, men dressed up like women. Pretty interesting but it's pretty calm here in comparison to other places.

I miss you all.
Have a good week.

Elder Batten

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week Twenty Nine

This week went well. We made a lot of new investigators including 2 families who are both really good. But once again we weren't able to get anyone to church. A new member who moved here this last week asked us to go to her house Sunday morning to walk her and her kids to church to show her where it is. She lives 40 minutes away. So we left early Sunday morning to walk her to church. When we arrived there she wasn't home... Yeah I got pretty frustrated. It was annoying. Luckily when we were returning a member of the stake stopped on the side of the road and gave us a ride. It only saved 15 or 20 minutes but it was nice.

Also the transfer passed yesterday. I'm going to stay here in Rio Largo with Elder Rui. But he is going to change his name to Elder Ortiz. He came to the mission as Elder Ortiz but there was already another Elder Ortiz so he changed it to Rui. But Elder Ortiz returned home this transfer so he is going to re change his name so that he can use his family name.

This last Sunday there were less than 25 members at church. It was pretty disappointing. We're going to change this next week our plan for finding new investigators and teaching. So we're going to start visiting the members and asking for references like always, but also for any less actives that live nearby. We're going to start working with members that haven't been to church in a long time to reactivate. And in the process try to bring non members of the family, new people that they know or live with. If we don't force the members to be involved there will come a day when they will have to start going to CPA which is the ward nearby. So we have hope for the coming week but it will be difficult.

I hope all is well,
Elder Batten